Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Gerontology. 2002 Mar-Apr;48(2):62-71.

Age-related bone loss: old bone, new facts.

Author information

  • 1Division of Geriatric Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Que, Canada.


The human skeleton serves several functions for the body: support, locomotion, protection of vital organs, and housing of bone marrow. Bone remodeling is the result of the interactions of multiple elements, including osteoblasts, osteoclasts, hormones, growth factors, and cytokines, the end result being the maintenance of the bone architecture and to maintain systemic calcium homeostasis. In early life, a careful balance exists between bone formation by osteoblasts and bone resorption by osteoclasts. With aging, the process of coupled bone formation is affected by the reduction of osteoblast differentiation, activity, and life span which is further potentiated in the perimenopausal years with hormone deprivation and increased osteoclast activity. Age-related bone loss is thus not only a consequence of hormone deprivation, but also the result of changes in bone formation and cell-cell interactions with a unique pathophysiology. In this review, we describe the cellular and metabolic changes associated with aging bone and present recent evidence regarding cell differentiation within the bone marrow. We also consider the mechanism of programmed cell death, apoptosis, as being an important determinant of aging in bone as well as describe possible future interventions to prolong the life span of osteoblasts.

Copyright 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for S. Karger AG, Basel, Switzerland
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk