Osteosarcopenia: A case of geroscience

Aging Med (Milton). 2019 Sep 8;2(3):147-156. doi: 10.1002/agm2.12080. eCollection 2019 Sep.


Many older persons lose their mobility and independence due to multiple diseases occurring simultaneously. Geroscience is aimed at developing innovative approaches to better identify relationships among the biological processes of aging. Osteoporosis and sarcopenia are two of the most prevalent chronic diseases in older people, with both conditions sharing overlapping risk factors and pathogenesis. When occurring together, these diseases form a geriatric syndrome termed "osteosarcopenia," which increases the risk of frailty, hospitalizations, and death. Findings from basic and clinical sciences aiming to understand osteosarcopenia have provided evidence of this syndrome as a case of geroscience. Genetic, endocrine, and mechanical stimuli, in addition to fat infiltration, sedentarism, and nutritional deficiencies, affect muscle and bone homeostasis to characterize this syndrome. However, research is in its infancy regarding accurate diagnostic markers and effective treatments with dual effects on muscle and bone. To date, resistance exercise remains the most promising strategy to increase muscle and bone mass, while sufficient quantities of protein, vitamin D, calcium, and creatine may preserve these tissues with aging. More recent findings, from rodent models, suggest treating ectopic fat in muscle and bone marrow as a possible avenue to curb osteosarcopenia, although this needs testing in human clinical trials.

Keywords: bone; cross talk; geroscience; muscle; osteosarcopenia.

Publication types

  • Review