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Aging is associated with a reduction in osteoblast life span and the volume of bone formed by each basic multicellular unit. Each time bone is resorbed, less is deposited producing microstructural deterioration. Aging is also associated with insulin resistance and hyperglycemia, either of which may cause, or be the result of, a decline in undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC), a protein produced by osteoblasts that increases insulin sensitivity. We examined whether glucose‐loading reduces bone remodeling and ucOC in vivo and osteoblast function in vitro, and so compromises bone formation. We administered an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) to 18 pre and postmenopausal, nondiabetic women at rest and following exercise and measured serum levels of bone remodeling markers (BRMs) and ucOC. We also assessed whether increasing glucose concentrations with or without insulin reduced survival and activity of cultured human osteoblasts. Glucose‐loading at rest and following exercise reduced BRMs in pre and postmenopausal women and reduced ucOC in postmenopausal women. Higher glucose correlated negatively, whereas insulin correlated positively, with baseline BRMs and ucOC. The increase in serum glucose following resting OGTT was associated with the reduction in bone formation markers. D‐glucose (>10 mmol L−1) increased osteoblast apoptosis, reduced cell activity and osteocalcin expression compared with 5 mmol L−1. Insulin had a protective effect on these parameters. Collagen expression in vitro was not affected in this time course. In conclusion, glucose exposure reduces BRMs in women and exercise failed to attenuate this suppression effect. The suppressive effect of glucose on BRMs may be due to impaired osteoblast work and longevity. Whether glucose influences material composition and microstructure remains to be determined.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Open Access Journal Article

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© The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American Physiological Society and The Physiological Society. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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