Regulation of osteoblastogenesis and osteoclastogenesis by the other reproductive hormones, Activin and Inhibin

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2009 Oct 30;310(1-2):11-20. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2009.07.001. Epub 2009 Jul 15.


There is both cellular and physiological evidence demonstrating that both Activins and Inhibins regulate osteoblastogenesis and osteoclastogenesis, and regulate bone mass in vivo. Although Activins and Inhibins were initially isolated from the gonad, Activins are also produced and stored in bone, whereas Inhibins exert their regulation on bone cell differentiation and metabolism via endocrine effects. The accumulating data provide evidence that reproductive hormones, distinct from classical sex steroids, are important regulators of bone mass and bone strength. Given the well described dominant antagonism of Inhibin over Activin, as well as over BMPs and TGFbeta, the gonadally derived Inhibins are important regulators of locally produced osteotrophic factors. Thus, the cycling Inhibins in females and diurnal changes in Inhibin B in males elicit temporal shifts in Inhibin levels (tone) that de-repress the pituitary. This fundamental action has the potential to de-repress locally stimulated changes in osteoblastogenesis and osteoclastogenesis, thereby altering bone metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bone Remodeling
  • Humans
  • Inhibins / metabolism*
  • Osteoblasts / cytology*
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteoclasts / cytology*
  • Osteoclasts / metabolism
  • Osteogenesis*


  • Activins
  • Inhibins