Objective: Across studies it has been suggested that leptin intervenes as a regulator of bone metabolism. This study assesses the contribution in elderly men of leptin and the Gln223Arg leptin receptor gene (LEPR) polymorphism to the variation in bone homeostasis, in relation to body composition and free estradiol as major confounders.
Design: We performed cross-sectional (n = 270) and longitudinal (mean follow-up 3.4 years, n = 214) evaluations in elderly men.
Methods: Serum leptin, LEPR genotype, baseline bone mineral density (BMD), longitudinal BMD changes at the hip and forearm, and biochemical markers of bone turnover were determined.
Results: In cross-sectional analyses absolute fat mass was the index of body composition most strongly associated with leptin (r = 0.74; P < 0.001). LEPR genotypes and serum leptin were not associated. Serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (S-BAP) was associated with LEPR genotypes (P = 0.05) and urinary C-terminal telopeptides of type I collagen (U-CTX) were associated with leptin levels (P = 0.03), independently from age, fat mass and free estradiol. Baseline BMD at the hip and forearm was neither associated with leptin nor with LEPR genotypes. Prospectively assessed BMD loss was not associated with serum leptin at the hip, whereas BMD loss was positively associated with leptin at the forearm (P = 0.01), independently from age, fat mass and free estradiol. Longitudinal changes in hip or forearm BMD were not associated with LEPR genotypes.
Conclusion: The findings suggest a possible role for leptin as determinant of bone homeostasis in elderly men, but with only modest impact independently from body composition and free estradiol.