Osteoporosis International

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1699–1710 | Cite as

The effects of adiponectin and leptin on changes in bone mineral density

  • K. E. BarbourEmail author
  • J. M. Zmuda
  • R. Boudreau
  • E. S. Strotmeyer
  • M. J. Horwitz
  • R. W. Evans
  • A. M. Kanaya
  • T. B. Harris
  • J. A. Cauley
  • The Health ABC Study
Original Article



We tested the hypothesis that low leptin and high adiponectin levels are associated with higher rates of bone mineral density (BMD) loss among 3,075 men and women, aged 70–79, from the Health Aging and Body Composition Study. Results suggest that adiponectin, but not leptin, is a risk factor for bone loss in women.


Adiponectin and leptin are hormones secreted by adipose cells that may impact BMD. Few studies have evaluated the longitudinal association of leptin and adiponectin levels with rates of BMD change.


Hip and whole-body areal BMD (aBMD) were measured five times using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry over 10 years (average follow-up time, 7.95 ± 1.92 years). Trabecular lumbar spine volumetric BMD (vBMD) was measured using quantitative computed topography at baseline and year 6 in the Pittsburgh cohort only. Random slope and intercept models were used to account for within person correlation as a result of repeated measures of hip and whole-body aBMD. Linear regression was used to model changes in spine trabecular vBMD.


Among women, the annualized rate of hip aBMD loss in the highest tertile of adiponectin was −0.67% (95% CI −0.77, −0.58) compared to [−0.43% (95% CI −0.51, −0.35)] in the lowest tertile (p trend = 0.019) after adjusting for age, race, BMI, diabetes, baseline hip aBMD, and weight change. In men, hip aBMD loss was greatest in the high adiponectin group (tertile 3), however this association was not significant (p trend = 0.148). After adjusting for weight change in women, the association between higher leptin and lower hip aBMD loss was attenuated and no longer significant (p trend = 0.134). Leptin and adiponectin levels were not associated with whole-body aBMD or trabecular lumbar spine vBMD loss.


Adiponectin was associated with increased hip aBMD loss in women only, supporting evidence that adiponectin may have an important role in bone health.


Adiponectin BMD change Hip aBMD Leptin Trabecular lumbar spine vBMD Whole-body aBMD 


Role of Funding Source

The Health Aging and Body Composition Study (Health ABC) includes the contract numbers: N01-AG-6-2101, N01-AG-6-2103, N01-AG-6-2106, and R01-AG028050. This research was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, National Institute on Aging.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. E. Barbour
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • J. M. Zmuda
    • 1
  • R. Boudreau
    • 1
  • E. S. Strotmeyer
    • 1
  • M. J. Horwitz
    • 2
  • R. W. Evans
    • 1
  • A. M. Kanaya
    • 3
  • T. B. Harris
    • 4
  • J. A. Cauley
    • 1
  • The Health ABC Study
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public HealthUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Division of Endocrinology and MetabolismUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Division of General Internal MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and BiometryNational Institute of AgingBethesdaUSA
  5. 5.Center of Aging and Population Health, Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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