Bone Homeostasis and Gut Microbial-Dependent Signaling Pathways

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2021 Jun 28;31(6):765-774. doi: 10.4014/jmb.2104.04016.


Although research on the osteal signaling pathway has progressed, understanding of gut microbial-dependent signaling pathways for metabolic and immune bone homeostasis remains elusive. In recent years, the study of gut microbiota has shed light on our understanding of bone homeostasis. Here, we review microbiota-mediated gut-bone crosstalk via bone morphogenetic protein/SMADs, Wnt and OPG/receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand signaling pathways in direct (translocation) and indirect (metabolite) manners. The mechanisms underlying gut microbiota involvement in these signaling pathways are relevant in immune responses, secretion of hormones, fate of osteoblasts and osteoclasts and absorption of calcium. Collectively, we propose a signaling network for maintaining a dynamic homeostasis between the skeletal system and the gut ecosystem. Additionally, the role of gut microbial improvement by dietary intervention in osteal signaling pathways has also been elucidated. This review provides unique resources from the gut microbial perspective for the discovery of new strategies for further improving treatment of bone diseases by increasing the abundance of targeted gut microbiota.

Keywords: Bone homeostasis; bone metabolism; gut microbiota; signaling pathway.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones* / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / immunology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Osteoblasts / cytology
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteoclasts / cytology
  • Osteoclasts / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*