Osteoporosis is a disorder in which loss of bone strength leads to fragility fractures. This review examines the fundamental pathogenetic mechanisms underlying this disorder, which include: (a) failure to achieve a skeleton of optimal strength during growth and development; (b) excessive bone resorption resulting in loss of bone mass and disruption of architecture; and (c) failure to replace lost bone due to defects in bone formation. Estrogen deficiency is known to play a critical role in the development of osteoporosis, while calcium and vitamin D deficiencies and secondary hyperparathyroidism also contribute. There are multiple mechanisms underlying the regulation of bone remodeling, and these involve not only the osteoblastic and osteoclastic cell lineages but also other marrow cells, in addition to the interaction of systemic hormones, local cytokines, growth factors, and transcription factors. Polymorphisms of a large number of genes have been associated with differences in bone mass and fragility. It is now possible to diagnose osteoporosis, assess fracture risk, and reduce that risk with antiresorptive or other available therapies. However, new and more effective approaches are likely to emerge from a better understanding of the regulators of bone cell function.
Lawrence G. Raisz
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.