Insulin and bone health in young adults: The mediator role of lean mass
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Background: The positive relationship between lean mass (LM) and bone health is well known, but a positive association between insulin and LM has also been described. Insulin has some anabolic properties on bone through the stimulation of osteoblast differentiation, yet the role of LM as a confounder or mediator in this relationship remains uncertain. Objective: To examine whether the association between insulin levels and bone health is mediated by LM. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at the Castilla La Mancha University (Spain) involving 466 young adults (113 young men; 19.5±2.3 years). LM and total-body bone mineral content (BMC) were measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, and insulin was measured in fasting serum samples. Results: Young adults with high total LM had higher values of total-body BMC than their peers after controlling for age and sex, this relationship persisted after adjusting for insulin levels (p<0.001). In mediation analyses, insulin levels were positively associated with total-body BMC (b = 0.05; p<0.001) and total LM acted as an intermediate variable, attenuating the association between insulin levels and total-body BMC (b = -31.98; p>0.05) as indicated by Sobel test values for indirect effect (z = 4.43; p<0.001). Conclusions: LM plays an important role in the relationship between insulin levels and bone health, in such a way that while increases in LM have a positive influence on bone health, they are also negatively associated with insulin levels. © 2017 Torres-Costoso et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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