BackgroundSenile osteoporosis with age-related bone loss is diagnosed depending on radiographic changes of bone and bone mineral density (BMD) measurement. However, radiographic alterations are usually signs of medium-late stage osteoporosis. Therefore, biomarkers have been proposed as indicators of bone loss. In the current study, Galectin-1 (Gal-1) showed age-related decline in mice serum. The role of Gal-1 in osteoporosis has not been investigated so far. Hence, the current study illustrated the relationship of serum Gal-1 level with bone loss.MethodsWe employed 6- and 18-month-old mice to establish an animal model of age-related trabecular bone loss, whose bone density and microstructure were investigated by micro-CT. ELISA was used to measure the levels of Gal-1 in serum. The correlation analysis was performed to illustrate the relationship between serum Gal-1 levels and trabecular bone loss. In addition, immunohistochemistry was used to investigate the abundance of Gal-1 in bone marrow of mice. ELISA and western blot were performed to measure the secretion ability and protein expression of Gal-1 in bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC), hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and myeloid progenitor (MP) respectively. Flow cytometry was used to measure BMSC number in bone marrow. Finally, male volunteers with age-related BMD decrease were recruited and the relationship between serum Gal-1 and BMD was analyzed.ResultsGal-1 showed age-related decline in mice serum. Serum Gal-1 was positively associated with BV/TV of femur, tibia and L1 vertebrae in mice. BMSC secreted more Gal-1 compared with HSC and MP. BMSC number in bone marrow was significantly lower in aged mice compared with young mice. Significant attenuation of Gal-1 protein expression was observed in BMSC and HSC from aged mice compared with young mice. Further, we found a decline in serum Gal-1 levels in men with age-related BMD decrease. There was positive correlation between BMD and serum Gal-1 levels in these men.ConclusionsAge-related trabecular bone loss is associated with a decline in serum Gal-1 level in mice and men. Our study suggested Gal-1 had great potential to be a biomarker for discovering BMSC senescence, diagnosing early osteoporosis and monitoring trabecular bone loss.