Disruption of the insulin-like growth factor-1 gene in osteocytes impairs developmental bone growth in mice

Matilda H.C. Sheng, Xiao Dong Zhou, Lynda F. Bonewald, David J. Baylink, K. H.William Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations


This study evaluated the role of osteocyte-derived insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in developmental bone growth by assessing the bone phenotype of osteocyte Igf1 conditional knockout (KO) mice, generated by crossing the Dmp1-driven Cre-expressing transgenic mice with Igf1 floxed mice containing loxP sites that flank exon 4 of the Igf1 gene. The periosteal diameter of femurs of homozygous conditional KO mutants was 8-12% smaller than wild-type (WT) littermates. The conditional mutants had 14-20%, 10-21%, and 15-31% reduction in total, trabecular, and cortical bone mineral contents, respectively. However, there were no differences in the total, trabecular, or cortical bone mineral densities, or in trabecular bone volume, thickness, number, and separation at secondary spongiosa between the mutants and WT littermates. The conditional KO mutants showed reduction in dynamic bone formation parameters at both periosteal and endosteal surfaces at the mid-diaphysis and in trabecular bone formation rate and resorption parameters at secondary spongiosa. The lower plasma levels of PINP and CTx in conditional KO mice support a regulatory role of osteocyte-derived IGF-1 in the bone turnover. The femur length of conditional KO mutants was 4-7% shorter due to significant reduction in the length of growth plate and hypertropic zone. The effect on periosteal expansion appeared to be bigger than that on longitudinal bone growth. The conditional KO mice had 14% thinner calvaria than WT littermates, suggesting that deficient osteocyte IGF-1 production also impairs developmental growth of intramembraneous bone. Conditional disruption of Igf1 in osteocytes did not alter plasma levels of IGF-1, calcium, or phosphorus. In summary, this study shows for the first time that osteocyte-derived IGF-1 plays an essential role in regulating bone turnover during developmental bone growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-144
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone size
  • IGF-1
  • Knockout
  • Longitudinal growth
  • Osteocyte
  • Periosteal expansion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology

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