Study Title:

Distinct effects of pioglitazone and metformin on circulating sclerostin and biochemical markers of bone turnover in men with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Study Abstract

Objective: Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have an increased risk of fractures and thiazolidinediones (TZDs) increase this risk. TZDs stimulate the expression of sclerostin, a negative regulator of bone formation, in vitro. Abnormal sclerostin production may, therefore, be involved in the pathogenesis of increased bone fragility in patients with T2DM treated with TZDs.

Methods: We measured serum sclerostin, procollagen type 1 amino-terminal propeptide (P1NP), and carboxy-terminal cross-linking telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX) in 71 men with T2DM treated with either pioglitazone (PIO) (30 mg once daily) or metformin (MET) (1000 mg twice daily). Baseline values of sclerostin and P1NP were compared with those of 30 healthy male controls.

Results: Compared with healthy controls, patients with T2DM had significantly higher serum sclerostin levels (59.9 vs 45.2 pg/ml, P<0.001) but similar serum P1NP levels (33.6 vs 36.0 ng /ml, P=0.39). After 24 weeks of treatment, serum sclerostin levels increased by 11% in PIO-treated patients and decreased by 1.8% in MET-treated patients (P=0.018). Changes in serum sclerostin were significantly correlated with changes in serum CTX in all patients (r=0.36, P=0.002) and in PIO-treated patients (r=0.39, P=0.020), but not in MET-treated patients (r=0.17, P=0.31).

Conclusions: Men with T2DM have higher serum sclerostin levels than healthy controls, and these levels further increase after treatment with PIO, which is also associated with increased serum CTX. These findings suggest that increased sclerostin production may be involved in the pathogenesis of increased skeletal fragility in patients with T2DM in general and may specifically contribute to the detrimental effect of TZDs on bone.

Study Information

Eur J Endocrinol. 2012 Apr;166(4):711-6. doi: 10.1530/EJE-11-1061. Epub 2012 Jan 20. PMID: 22267280.

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