Are the Effects of Oral and Vaginal Contraceptives on Bone Formation in Young Women Mediated via the Growth Hormone-IGF-I Axis?

Heather C.M. Allaway, Madhusmita Misra, Emily A. Southmayd, Michael S. Stone, Connie M. Weaver, Dylan L. Petkus, Mary Jane De Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: Combined hormonal contraceptive therapy has been associated with negative bone mineral density outcomes that may be route-dependent [i.e., combined oral contraception (COC) vs. contraceptive vaginal ring (CVR)] and involve the hepatic growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) axis. The objective of the pilot study was to assess the impact of route of contraceptive administration on IGF-I and procollagen type I N-terminal propeptide (PINP) responses to an IGF-I Generation Test. We hypothesized that the peak rise in IGF-I and PINP concentration and area under the curve (AUC) would be attenuated following COC, but not CVR, use. Methods: Healthy, premenopausal women not taking hormonal contraception were recruited. Women were enrolled in the control group (n = 8) or randomly assigned to COC (n = 8) or CVR (n = 8) for two contraceptive cycles. IGF-I Generation Tests were used as a probe to stimulate IGF-I release and were completed during the pre-intervention and intervention phases. Serum IGF-I and PINP were measured during both IGF-I Generation Tests. The study was registered at (NCT02367833). Results: Compared to the pre-intervention phase, peak IGF-I concentration in response to the IGF-I Generation Test in the intervention phase was suppressed in the COC group (p < 0.001), but not the CVR or Control groups (p > 0.090). Additionally, compared to the pre-intervention phase, PINP AUC during the intervention phase was suppressed in both COC and CVR groups (p < 0.001), while no difference was observed in the control group (p = 0.980). Conclusion: These data suggest that changes in recombinant human GH-stimulated hepatic IGF-I synthesis in response to combined hormonal contraception (CHC) use are dependent on route of CHC administration, while the influence on PINP is route-independent. Future research is needed to expand these results with larger randomized control trials in all age ranges of women who utilize hormonal contraception. Clinical Trial Registration: registration NCT02367833.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number334
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
StatePublished - Jun 16 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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