Association of osteocalcin and abdominal aortic calcification in older women: The study of osteoporotic fractures

Benjamin D. Parker, Douglas C. Bauer, Kristine E. Ensrud, Joachim H. Ix

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Osteocalcin (OC) is produced by osteoblasts and vascular smooth muscle cells. In animal models, serum OC levels are strongly correlated with vascular calcium content, however, the association of OC with vascular calcification in humans is uncertain. The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) enrolled community-living women, age≥ 65 years. The present study included a subsample of 363 randomly selected SOF participants. Serum total OC was measured by ELISA, and abdominal aortic calcification (AAC) was evaluated on lateral lumbar radiographs. We examined the cross-sectional association between serum OC and AAC. The mean serum OC level was 24 ± 11 ng/ml and AAC was present in 188 subjects (52%). We observed no association of OC and AAC in either unadjusted or adjusted analyses. For example, each standard deviation higher OC level was associated with an odds ratio (OR) for AAC prevalence (AAC score> 0) near unity (OR = 1.06; 95% CI, 0.82-1.36) in models adjusted for CVD risk factors. Further adjustment for intact parathyroid hormone, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, 25- hydroxyvitamin D, and hip and spine bone mineral density did not materially change the results (OR = 1.22; 95% CI, 0.86-1.75). Similarly, higher OC levels were not associated with severity of AAC (P = 0.87). In conclusion, among community-living older women, serum OC is not associated with AAC. These findings suggest that serum OC levels may more closely reflect bone formation than vascular calcification in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-191
Number of pages7
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by Grants T32 HL007261 (B.D.P), R21 HL091217 (J.H.I.), and R21 HL091217-01A2S1 (B.D.P.) through the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute; and an American Heart Association Fellow-to-Faculty transition grant (J.H.I.). The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) is supported by National Institutes of Health funding. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) provides support under the following Grant numbers: AG05407, AR35582, AG05394, AR35584, AR35583, R01 AG005407, R01 AG027576-22, 2 R01 AG005394-22A1, and 2 R01 AG027574-22A1. The funding organizations had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.


  • Aortic calcification
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Osteocalcin
  • Vascular calcification


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