Bone remodeling, humoral networks and smart biomaterial technology for osteoporosis

Front Biosci (Schol Ed). 2010 Jan 1;2:468-82. doi: 10.2741/s79.


One of the unfortunate sequelae of increased life expectancy is a growing number of age-related degenerative diseases, a prime example being osteoporosis. This form of metabolic bone disease and related co-morbidities consume tremendous resources and costs from a nation's health care system. Osteoporosis results from genetic, age-related, and hormone-dependent causes as well as a compendium of secondary pathophysiological states. The presence of osteoporosis as a comorbidity confers a significant negative prognostic element following orthopedic procedures. In vitro and in vivo studies of osteoporotic bone implicate microarchitectural bone rarefaction, microenvironmental and functional disturbance of osteoblast-osteoclast coupling, and abnormal tissue and signalling molecule repertoires, each having detrimental effects on the regenerative and osteointegration processes. This review explores the pathophysiology of bone remodeling from a macro- and micro- systems biology standpoint with a focus on cytokine interactions. Furthermore, therapeutic interventions exploiting vulnerable nodes in these physiological networks will be posited. One exciting development in this area is the use of novel biomaterials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Bone Substitutes / therapeutic use
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteoclasts / metabolism
  • Osteoporosis / immunology*
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoporosis / therapy*


  • Bone Substitutes
  • Cytokines
  • Hormones