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Effects of obesity on bone metabolism

DOI: 10.1186/1749-799x-6-30

Keywords: bone, fat, obesity, osteoporosis, inflammation

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Obesity, defined as having a body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2, is a condition in which excessive body fat accumulates to a degree that adversely affects health [1]. The rates of obesity rates have doubled since 1980 [2] and as of 2007, 33% of men and 35% of women in the US are obese [3]. Obesity is positively associated to many chronic disorders such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, and certain cancers [4-6]. It is estimated that the direct medical cost associated with obesity in the United States is ~$100 billion per year [7].Bone mass and strength decrease during adulthood, especially in women after menopause [8]. These changes can culminate in osteoporosis, a disease characterized by low bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration resulting in increased bone fracture risk. It is estimated that there are about 10 million Americans over the age of 50 who have osteoporosis while another 34 million people are at risk of developing the disease [9]. In 2001, osteoporosis alone accounted for some $17 billion in direct annual healthcare expenditure.Several lines of evidence suggest that obesity and bone metabolism are interrelated. First, both osteoblasts (bone forming cells) and adipocytes (energy storing cells) are derived from a common mesenchymal stem cell [10] and agents inhibiting adipogenesis stimulated osteoblast differentiation [11-13] and vice versa, those inhibiting osteoblastogenesis increased adipogenesis [14]. Second, decreased bone marrow osteoblastogenesis with aging is usually accompanied with increased marrow adipogenesis [15,16]. Third, chronic use of steroid hormone, such as glucocorticoid, results in obesity accompanied by rapid bone loss [17,18]. Fourth, both obesity and osteoporosis are associated with elevated oxidative stress and increased production of proinflammatory cytokines [19,20]. At present, the mechanisms for the effects of obesity on bone metabolism are not well defined and will be the focus


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