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Nutr Res Rev. 2009 Jun;22(1):68-81. doi: 10.1017/S095442240926402X. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

When nutrition interacts with osteoblast function: molecular mechanisms of polyphenols.

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INRA Clermont-Ferrand/Theix, Human Nutrition Unit UMR1019, St Genès Champanelle F-63122, France.


Recent research has provided insights into dietary components that may optimise bone health and stimulate bone formation. Fruit and vegetable intake, as well as grains and other plant-derived food, have been linked to decreased risk of major chronic diseases including osteoporosis. This effect has been partially attributed to the polyphenols found in these foods. Thus, it has been suggested that these compounds may provide desirable bone health benefits through an action on bone cell metabolism. The present review will focus on how some polyphenols can modulate osteoblast function and reports which cellular signalling pathways are potentially implicated. However, to date, despite numerous investigations, few studies have provided clear evidence that phenolic compounds can act on osteoblasts. Polyphenols cited in the present review seem to be able to modulate the expression of transcription factors such as runt-related transcription factor-2 (Runx2) and Osterix, NF-kappaB and activator protein-1 (AP-1). It appears that polyphenols may act on cellular signalling such as mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), oestrogen receptor and osteoprotegerin/receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (OPG/RANKL) and thus may affect osteoblast functions. However, it is also important to take in account the possible interaction of these compounds on osteoclast metabolism to better understand the positive correlation reported between the consumption of fruit and vegetables and bone mass.

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