, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 595-606
Date: 27 Oct 2007

Relationships between fat and bone

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Abstract

Body weight impacts both bone turnover and bone density, making it, therefore, an important risk factor for vertebral and hip fractures and ranking it alongside age in importance. The effect of body weight is probably contributed to by both fat mass and lean mass, though in postmenopausal women, fat mass has been more consistently demonstrated to be important. A number of mechanisms for the fat-bone relationship exist and include the effect of soft tissue mass on skeletal loading, the association of fat mass with the secretion of bone active hormones from the pancreatic beta cell (including insulin, amylin, and preptin), and the secretion of bone active hormones (e.g., estrogens and leptin) from the adipocyte. These factors alone probably do not fully explain the observed clinical associations, and study of the actions on bone of novel hormones related to nutrition is an important area of further research. An understanding of this aspect of bone biology may open the way for new treatments of osteoporosis. More immediately, the role of weight maintenance in the prevention of osteoporosis is an important public health message that needs to be more widely appreciated.