Statins, bone formation and osteoporosis: hope or hype?

Hormones (Athens). 2012 Apr-Jun;11(2):126-39. doi: 10.14310/horm.2002.1339.


Osteoporosis is a major health problem affecting both men and women. Statins, besides their action as lipid-lowering agents, seem to have additional pleiotropic properties, among them a beneficial effect on bone mineral density. The entirety of experimental and the majority of clinical studies as well as the only relevant meta-analysis suggest that statins have an anabolic effect on bone metabolism. Statins, osteoporosis and adipogenesis share the same pathway, RANKL/OPG. It would appear that an imbalance in this pathway could be responsible for the manifestation of some metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus, atherogenesis, multiple myeloma, osteoporosis. Possibly in the future, drugs which can intervene in this biochemical and pathophysiological cascade, like statins, in a variety of doses, could be used for the management of ectopic ossification syndromes and other bone disorders, even as an additive treatment. Until then, further large longitudinal randomized controlled studies for each statin separately are required to confirm this hypothesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy*
  • RANK Ligand / metabolism
  • Simvastatin / pharmacology*


  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • RANK Ligand
  • TNFSF11 protein, human
  • Simvastatin