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QJM. 2005 Jul;98(7):467-84. Epub 2005 Jun 13.

Osteoporosis and atherosclerosis: biological linkages and the emergence of dual-purpose therapies.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Resnick Gerontology Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, 111 East 210th Street, Bronx, NY 10467, USA.


Osteoporosis and atherosclerosis are both widely prevalent in an ageing population, and induce serious morbidities and death. There is growing evidence that in addition to their relationship to ageing, osteoporosis and atherosclerosis are also linked by biological associations. This article reviews their clinical interrelations, discusses the basic biology of bone and the arterial wall, and presents five examples that illustrate their biological linkages. Current therapeutic approaches emerging from these linkages, including statins, bisphosphonates, and the thiazolidinediones, have dual effects on bone and the vasculature. Additional therapies derived from experimental studies that enhance bone density and reduce atherogenesis hold further promise to diminish the morbidity and mortality of osteoporosis and atherosclerosis, with attendant benefits to society.

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