Bringing Attention to Lesser-known Bone Remodeling Pathways

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Clinical Reviews in Bone and Mineral Metabolism


Biological Phenomena, Cell Phenomena, and Immunity | Medical Cell Biology | Musculoskeletal System


Osteoporosis, a disease of low bone mass, places individuals at enhanced risk for fracture, disability, and death. In the USA, hospitalizations for osteoporotic fractures exceed those for heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer and, by 2025, the number of fractures due to osteoporosis is expected to rise to nearly three million in the USA alone. Pharmacological treatments for osteoporosis are aimed at stabilizing or increasing bone mass. However, there are significant drawbacks to current pharmacological options, particularly for long-term management of this chronic condition. Moreover, the drug development pipeline is relatively bereft of new strategies. Consequently, there is an urgent and unmet need for developing new strategies and targets for treating osteoporosis. Casual observation led us to hypothesize that much of the bone remodeling research literature focused on relatively few molecular pathways. This led us to perform bibliometric analyses to determine the relative popularity of bone remodeling pathways in publications and US National Institutes of Health funding of the last 10 years. In this review article, we discuss these findings and highlight several less-examined signaling pathways that may hold promise for future therapies.