Effects of the gut microbiota on bone mass

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Feb;26(2):69-74. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2014.11.004. Epub 2014 Dec 9.


The gut microbiota (GM), the commensal bacteria living in our intestine, performs numerous useful functions, including modulating host metabolism and immune status. Recent studies demonstrate that the GM is also a regulator of bone mass and it is proposed that the effect of the GM on bone mass is mediated via effects on the immune system, which in turn regulates osteoclastogenesis. Under normal conditions, the skeleton is constantly remodeled by bone-forming osteoblasts (OBs) and bone-resorbing osteoclasts (OCLs), and imbalances in this process may lead to osteoporosis. Here we review current knowledge on the possible role for the GM in the regulation of bone metabolism and propose that the GM might be a novel therapeutic target for osteoporosis and fracture prevention.

Keywords: gut microbiota; osteoimmunology; osteoporosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density* / immunology
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology*
  • Bone and Bones / immunology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestines / immunology
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Microbiota / immunology
  • Microbiota / physiology*
  • Organ Size
  • Osteoporosis / etiology
  • Osteoporosis / microbiology
  • Risk Factors