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Menopause. 2018 Feb;25(2):197-201. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000974.

Associations among circulating colony-stimulating factor-1, estrogen, and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women: results from a randomized placebo-controlled trial.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.
Yale School of Public Health, Yale Center for Analytical Sciences, New Haven, CT.



This study addresses the relationship between circulating levels of colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) and rates of postmenopausal bone loss. The purpose was to test the hypothesis that CSF-1 levels would correlate with the rate of bone loss in estrogen-deficient woman. We further hypothesized that estrogen replacement would eliminate this association.


This was an ancillary study to the parent Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS)-a 4-year randomized placebo-controlled study that evaluated the effects of estrogen therapy on cardiovascular endpoints. Women between of the ages of 42 and 58, who had been amenorrheic for ≥6 months and ≤36 months, were enrolled in KEEPS. Participants were randomized to conjugated equine estrogen 0.45 mg daily, transdermal estradiol 50 micrograms weekly, or placebo.


There was no correlation between serum levels of CSF-1 and bone mineral density at the spine, hip, or femoral neck in estrogen-deficient women (correlation 0.0017, P = 0.99 for spine; correlation 0.0010, P = 0.0079 for hip, and correlation 0.0019, P = 0.99 for femoral neck). There was also no significant correlation in the treatment group (correlation 0.0015, P = 0.99; correlation -0.00024, P = 0.99; correlation 0.0011, P = 0.99 at spine, hip, and femoral neck respectively).


This study did not demonstrate a meaningful relationship between circulating levels of CSF-1 and bone mineral density in either the placebo group or estrogen-treated group. Although CSF-1 is required for osteoclastic bone resorption, our data suggest that circulating levels of the cytokine may not reflect this process.

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