Plasma Growth and Differentiation Factor 15 Predict Longitudinal Changes in Bone Parameters in Women, but Not in Men

Yusuke Osawa, Toshiko Tanaka, Richard D. Semba, Giovanna Fantoni, Ruin Moaddel, Julián Candia, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Stefania Bandinelli, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Bone fragility can progress with aging, but biomarkers to detect emerging osteopenia have not been fully elucidated. Growth/ differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) has pleiotropic roles in a broad range of age-related conditions, but its association with osteopenia is unknown. We examined the relationship between plasma GDF-15 levels and rate of change in bone parameters over 9 years of follow-up in 596 adults in the InCHIANTI study (baseline age, 65–94 years; women, 52.4%; mean follow-up, 7.0 ± 3.0 years). Plasma GDF-15 concentrations were measured using the 1.3k HTS SOMAscan assay. Eight bone parameters were measured in the right tibia by peripheral quantitative computed tomography; total bone density, trabecular bone density, medullary plus trabecular bone density, cortical bone density, total bone area, cortical bone area, medullary bone area, and minimum moment of inertia (mMOI). We ran sex-specific linear mixed-effect models with random intercepts and slopes adjusted for age, age-squared, education, body mass index, the rate of change in weight, smoking, sedentary behavior, cross-sectional areas of calf muscles and fat, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, parathyroid hormone, calcium, diabetes mellitus, and follow-up time. We found a significant association of “baseline GDF-15 × time” in models predicting cortical bone density and the mMOI in women, suggesting that the rates of decline in these bone parameters increased with higher GDF-15 (false discovery rate <0.05). Higher plasma levels GDF-15 predicted an accelerated decline in bone parameters in women, but was less associated in men. Furthermore studies are needed to understand the mechanisms underlying these sex differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1951-1958
Number of pages8
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct 1


  • Cortical bone
  • Growth/differentiation factor 15
  • Osteopenia
  • Sex difference
  • Trabecular bone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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