BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that osteoblasts are involved in the regulation of haematopoietic stem cells. Whether osteocalcin, which is derived from osteoblasts and is metabolically active, influences blood haemoglobin (Hb) levels is not known.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether plasma osteocalcin is a determinant of Hb in elderly men.
METHODS: A total of 993 men (mean age 75.3 ± 3.2 years) participated in the population-based MrOS (osteoporotic fractures in men) study. Plasma osteocalcin concentration was evaluated in relation to Hb and adjustments were made for potential confounders (i.e. age, body mass index, erythropoietin, total oestradiol, fasting insulin, adiponectin, ferritin and cystatin C).
RESULTS: Hb correlated (age adjusted) negatively with osteocalcin in the total study group (r = -0.12, P < 0.001) as well as in the subgroup of nondiabetic men (r = -0.16, P < 0.001). In nondiabetic men with higher osteocalcin levels, it was more likely that Hb would be in the lowest quartile (odds ratio per SD decrease in osteocalcin 1.32, 95% confidence interval 1.13-1.53). Quartiles of Hb were negatively associated (age adjusted) with osteocalcin (P < 0.001). Anaemic men (47/812) (Hb <130 g L(-1) ) had significantly higher mean osteocalcin levels than nonanaemic men (33.9 vs. 27.1 μg L(-1) , P < 0.001). In multiple stepwise linear regression analyses (adjusted for age, body mass index, total oestradiol, adiponectin, erythropoietin, fasting insulin, cystatin C, leptin, ferritin and holotranscobalamin), osteocalcin was an independent predictor of Hb concentration in nondiabetic men (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: These data add further support to the evidence indicating that the bone-specific protein osteocalcin has several endocrine functions targeting the pancreas, testes, adipocytes, brain. An additional novel finding is that osteocalcin may also have a paracrine function as a regulator of haematopoiesis.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Endocrinology and Diabetes