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Diabetes Obes Metab. 2009 Apr;11(4):275-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1326.2008.00931.x. Epub 2008 Jul 29.

Thiazolidinedione-induced skeletal fragility--mechanisms and implications.

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Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


Recent evidence suggests that the risk of several types of fracture is increased in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) are now widely used in the management of T2DM, and their use may increase in other diseases characterized by insulin resistance. The PPAR-gamma, the molecular target of the TZDs currently in clinical use, is expressed in skeletal tissue. Evidence from preclinical studies has demonstrated that activation of PPAR-gamma (i) inhibits bone formation by diverting mesenchymal stem cells from the osteogenic to the adipocytic lineage and (ii) may increase bone resorption by stimulating the development of osteoclasts. There is also potential for indirect adverse skeletal effects of PPAR-gamma activation by modulation of circulating levels of hormones and cytokines known to influence bone metabolism. Recent studies in humans have demonstrated that TZDs decrease markers of bone formation decrease bone mass, and increase fracture rates, at least in women. The implication of these findings is that fracture risk should be considered in patients with T2DM for whom TZD therapy is being considered, and appropriate therapy instigated to prevent fractures in individuals ascertained to be at high risk.

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