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J Dent Res. 2006 Jul;85(7):596-607.

Inflammation-induced bone remodeling in periodontal disease and the influence of post-menopausal osteoporosis.

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  • 1Department of Oral Cell Biology, Umeå University, Umeå SE-901 87, Sweden.


During physiological conditions, the skeleton is remodeled in so-called bone multi-cellular units. Such units have been estimated to exist at 1-2 x 10(6) sites in the adult skeleton. The number and activities of these units are regulated by a variety of hormones and cytokines. In post-menopausal osteoporosis, lack of estrogen leads to increased numbers of bone multi-cellular units and to uncoupling of bone formation and bone resorption, resulting in too little bone laid down by osteoblasts compared with the amount of bone resorbed by osteoclasts. Inflammatory processes in the vicinity of the skeleton, e.g., marginal and apical periodontitis, will affect the remodeling of the nearby bone tissue in such a way that, in most patients, the amount of bone resorbed exceeds that being formed, resulting in net bone loss (inflammation-induced osteolysis). In some patients, however, inflammation-induced bone formation exceeds resorption, and a sclerotic lesion will develop. The cellular and molecular pathogenetic mechanisms in inflammation-induced osteolysis and sclerosis are discussed in the present review. The cytokines believed to be involved in inflammation-induced remodeling are very similar to those suggested to play crucial roles in post-menopausal osteoporosis. In patients with periodontal disease and concomitant post-menopausal osteoporosis, the possibility exists that the lack of estrogen influences the activities of bone cells and immune cells in such a way that the progression of alveolar bone loss will be enhanced. In the present paper, the evidence for and against this hypothesis is presented.

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