Association of serum sclerostin with bone mineral density, bone turnover, steroid and parathyroid hormones, and fracture risk in postmenopausal women: the OFELY study

P Garnero, E Sornay-Rendu, F Munoz, O Borel, R D Chapurlat
Osteoporosis International 2013, 24 (2): 489-94

SUMMARY: Sclerostin is a key regulator of bone formation. In a population of 572 postmenopausal women (mean age, 67 years) followed prospectively for a median of 6 years, there was no significant association between baseline levels of serum sclerostin and incidence of all fractures which occurred in 64 subjects.

INTRODUCTION: Sclerostin, an osteocyte soluble factor, is a major negative regulator of osteoblastic activity. Circulating sclerostin levels were reported to increase with age and to be modestly associated with bone mineral density (BMD) and bone turnover, but there are no data on the association with fracture risk.

METHODS: We investigated 572 postmenopausal women (mean age, 67 ± 8.5 years) from the OFELY population-based cohort. The associations of serum sclerostin measured with a new two-site ELISA and spine and hip BMD by DXA, serum β-isomerized C-terminal crosslinking of type I collagen (CTX), intact N-terminal propeptide of type I collagen (PINP), intact PTH, 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], estradiol, testosterone, and fracture risk were analyzed. At the time of sclerostin measurements, 98 postmenopausal women had prevalent fractures. After a median of 6 years (interquartile range, 5-7 years) follow-up, 64 postmenopausal sustained an incident fracture.

RESULTS: Serum sclerostin correlated positively with spine (r = 0.35, p < 0.0001) and total hip (r = 0.25, <0.0001) BMD. Conversely, serum sclerostin was weakly negatively associated with the bone markers PINP (r = -0.10, p = 0.014) and CTX (r = -0.13, p = 0.0026) and with intact PTH (r = -0.13, p = 0.0064). There was no significant association of serum sclerostin with 25(OH)D, estradiol, free estradiol index, or testosterone. Serum sclerostin considered as a continuous variable or in quartiles was not significantly associated with the risk of prevalent or incident fracture.

CONCLUSION: Serum sclerostin is weakly correlated with BMD, bone turnover, and PTH in postmenopausal women. It was not significantly associated with the risk of all fractures, although the number of incident fractures recorded may not allow detecting a modest association.

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