OBJECTIVE: Recent studies indicate a role for the age-related decline of anabolic hormones, especially testosterone, in the onset of "anemia of aging." Some of testosterone's erythropoietic activities are mediated by insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, which also seems to have independent erythropoietic effects. However, the associations among IGF-1, anemia, and hemoglobin (Hb) have not been adequately investigated in older populations.
METHODS: We used data from a representative sample of 953 subjects ≥65 years who participated in the InCHIANTI (Invecchiare in Chianti) Study and were not on growth hormone (GH) or erythropoietin therapy and were not diagnosed with hematologic malignancies or other cancers. Anemia was defined according to the World Health Organization (WHO) criteria by Hb level ≤13 g/dL in males and ≤12 g/dL in females. Backward multiple regression analyses including age, IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-3, testosterone, comorbidities, inflammatory markers, and anemia-related measures were used to address the relationship between IGF-1 and Hb and between IGF-1 and anemia in both sexes.
RESULTS: We found that 46/410 (11.2%) males and 71/543 (13.0%) females were defined as anemic. After adjustment for age, anemic males (100 ± 54 vs. 130 ± 56, P
CONCLUSION: In older males but not in females, IGF-1 levels are negatively associated with anemia. IGF-1 levels are independent and positive determinants of Hb concentration in both sexes.
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