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28-10-2009 | Bone health | Article

Gastrointestinal hormone may improve hip BMD


Free abstract

MedWire News: Treatment with the hormone glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2) reduces bone resorption without altering bone formation, indicate results from a small study of postmenopausal women.

“These observations suggest that GLP-2 might be useful as a pharmacological agent for the treatment of osteoporosis,” say Dennis Henriksen (Sanos Bioscience, Copenhagen, Denmark) and co-authors.

“Further studies are warranted to determine the putative anti-fracture effect of GLP-2,” they add.

The current study extends previous research showing that treating postmenopausal women at 10 pm with GLP-2 for 2 weeks decreased nocturnal resorption, measured by serum levels of C-terminal telopeptide region of collagen type I (s-CTX), without affecting bone formation, measured via serum osteocalcin levels.

In all, 160 healthy postmenopausal women with osteopenia of the total hip, femoral neck or lumbar spine were randomly assigned to receive one of three evening doses of GLP-2 (0.4, 1.6, and 3.2 mg) or placebo, and were followed-up for 4 months.

As reported in the journal Bone, after 120 days the nocturnal rise of s-CTX was reduced significantly in women given any of the GLP-2 doses compared with controls.

Moreover, there was a significant and dose–dependent increase in total hip bone mineral density (BMD) after 121 days in the study participants given 3.2 mg and 1.6 mg GLP-2 compared with controls.

BMD increased significantly at the femoral neck for patients given 0.4 mg and 3.2 mg GLP-2, although no dose–response relationship was detected, and no significant change was detected in lumbar spine BMD in any of the groups compared with controls.

There was no significant alteration in osteocalcin levels in the 10 hours after treatment, which the researchers say indicates that “injections of 0.4 mg, 1.6 mg and 3.2 mg GLP-2 do not exert any acute stimulatory or inhibitory effect on bone formation.”

Treatment was well tolerated and there was no evidence of the women producing antibodies against the hormone or attenuation of response to the treatment over time.

“The results indicate that GLP-2 produces a substantial decrease in bone resorption without suppression of bone formation thereby changing the bone remodeling balance in favor of bone formation, particularly at the hip,” Henriksen et al conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2009

By Lynda Williams

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