High-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism and bone mass

J Endocrinol. 2017 May;233(2):R95-R107. doi: 10.1530/JOE-16-0657. Epub 2017 Mar 17.


It is well appreciated that high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and bone physiology and pathology are tightly linked. Studies, primarily in mouse models, have shown that dysfunctional and/or disturbed HDL can affect bone mass through many different ways. Specifically, reduced HDL levels have been associated with the development of an inflammatory microenvironment that affects the differentiation and function of osteoblasts. In addition, perturbation in metabolic pathways of HDL favors adipoblastic differentiation and restrains osteoblastic differentiation through, among others, the modification of specific bone-related chemokines and signaling cascades. Increased bone marrow adiposity also deteriorates bone osteoblastic function and thus bone synthesis, leading to reduced bone mass. In this review, we present the current knowledge and the future directions with regard to the HDL-bone mass connection. Unraveling the molecular phenomena that underline this connection will promote the deeper understanding of the pathophysiology of bone-related pathologies, such as osteoporosis or bone metastasis, and pave the way toward the development of novel and more effective therapies against these conditions.

Keywords: adipose tissue; apolipoprotein; bone formation and resorption; cholesterol; skeletal biology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Animals
  • Apolipoprotein A-I / physiology
  • Apolipoproteins / physiology
  • Apolipoproteins E / physiology
  • Bone Density
  • Bone Marrow / physiology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Bone and Bones / physiology*
  • Cartilage / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Obesity
  • Osteoblasts / physiology
  • Osteoclasts / physiology
  • Osteogenesis


  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Apolipoproteins
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Lipoproteins, HDL