Effects of systemic and local administration of recombinant human IGF-I (rhIGF-I) on de novo bone formation in an aged mouse model

John L. Fowlkes, Kathryn M. Thrailkill, Lichu Liu, Elizabeth C. Wahl, Robert C. Bunn, Gael E. Cockrell, Daniel S. Perrien, James Aronson, Charles K. Lumpkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


DO was used in an aged mouse model to determine if systemically and/or locally administered rhIGF-I improved osteoblastogenesis and new bone formation. Local and systemic rhIGF-I treatment increased new bone formation. However, only systemic delivery produced measurable concentrations of rhIGF-I in the circulation. Introduction: Human and rodent research supports a primary role for IGF-I in bone formation. Significant roles for both endocrine and paracrine/autocrine IGF-I have been suggested for normal osteoblastogenesis and bone formation. We have assessed, using a mouse model of distraction osteogenesis (DO), the impact of continuous administration of recombinant human (rh)IGF-I, delivered either locally to the distraction site or absorbed systemically, on bone formation in an aged mouse model. Materials and Methods: DO was performed in aged mice (18-month-old C57BL/6 male mice), which were distracted at 0.15 mm daily. At the time of osteotomy, miniosmotic pumps were inserted subcutaneously to (1) deliver vehicle or rhIGF-I subcutaneously for systemic delivery or (2) deliver vehicle or rhIGF-I directly to the newly forming bone through infusion tubing routed subcutaneously from the pump to the distraction site. Serum concentrations of mouse IGF-I, human IGF-I, and osteocalcin were determined at the end of the study. Results: New bone formation observed in DO gaps showed a significant increase in new bone formation in rhIGF-I-treated mice, irrespective of delivery route. However, detectable levels of human IGF-I were found only in the serum of animals receiving rhIGF-I systemically. Osteocalcin levels did not differ between controls and rhIGF-I-treated groups. Conclusions: Locally and systemically delivered rhIGF-I both produce significant increases in new bone formed in an aged mouse model in which new bone formation is normally markedly impaired, suggesting that rhIGF-I may improve senile osteoporosis. Because systemic administration of IGF-I can result in untoward side effects, including an increased risk for cancer, the findings that locally delivered IGF-I improves bone regeneration without increasing circulating IGF-I levels suggests that this delivery route may be preferable in an at-risk, aged population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1359-1366
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Aging
  • Anabolic agents
  • Distraction osteogenesis
  • Limb lengthening
  • Osteoporosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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