Osteoporosis and osteopenia impact more than 54 million Americans, resulting in significant morbidity and mortality. Alterations in bone remodeling are the hallmarks for osteoporosis, and thus the development of novel treatments that will prevent or treat bone diseases would be clinically significant, and improve the quality of life for these patients. Bone remodeling involves the removal of old bone by osteoclasts and the formation of new bone by osteoblasts. This process is tightly coupled, and is essential for the maintenance of bone strength and integrity. Since the osteoclast is the only cell capable of bone resorption, the development of drugs to treat bone disorders has primarily focused on reducing osteoclast differentiation, maturation, and bone resorption mechanisms, and there are few treatments that actually increase bone formation. Evidence from observational, experimental, and clinical studies demonstrate a positive link between naturally occurring compounds and improved indices of bone health. While many natural extracts and compounds are reported to have beneficial effects on bone, only resveratrol, sulforaphane, specific phenolic acids and anthocyanins, have been shown to both increase bone formation and reduce resorption through their effects on the bone epigenome. Each of these compounds alters specific aspects of the bone epigenome to improve osteoblast differentiation, reduce osteoblast apoptosis, improve bone mineralization, and reduce osteoclast differentiation and function. This review focuses on these specific natural compounds and their epigenetic regulation of bone remodeling.
Keywords: Anthocyanins; DNA methylation; Ferulic acid; Non-coding RNA; Osteoblast; Osteoclast; Resveratrol; Sulforaphane; Syringic acid.
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