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Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2008 Oct;6 Suppl 1:81-5.

Role of iron in osteoporosis.

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Department of Biology & Program in Medical Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA.


Osteoporosis is a remarkably frequent complication of iron loading conditions such as thalassemia, sicklemia, African siderosis, hemochromatosis, smoking, alcoholism, HIV infection, and cessation of menstruation. The metal suppresses osteoblast formation of bone and may also stimulate osteoclast resorption of bone. Iron also inhibits anterior pituitary synthesis of gonadotrophs. This, in turn, results in depressed formation of gonadal hormones. The tendency of iron-loaded persons to become osteoporotic may be enhanced by gonadal hormone deficiency. Iron binding agents that could specifically withhold excess skeletal iron (and be excreted as the iron chelate) might have therapeutic utility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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