Advances in the understanding of mineral and bone metabolism in inflammatory bowel diseases

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95 Scopus citations


Chronic inflammatory disorders such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) affect bone metabolism and are frequently associated with the presence of osteopenia, osteoporosis, and increased risk of fractures. Although several mechanisms may contribute to skeletal abnormalities in IBD patients, inflammation and inflammatory mediators such as TNF, IL-1β, and IL-6 may be the most critical. It is not clear whether the changes in bone metabolism leading to decreased mineral density are the result of decreased bone formation, increased bone resorption, or both, with varying results reported in experimental models of IBD and in pediatric and adult IBD patients. New data, including our own, challenge the conventional views, and contributes to the unraveling of an increasingly complex network of interactions leading to the inflammationassociated bone loss. Since nutritional interventions (dietary calcium and vitamin D supplementation) are of limited efficacy in IBD patients, understanding the pathophysiology of osteopenia and osteoporosis in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis is critical for the correct choice of available treatments or the development of new targeted therapies. In this review, we discuss current concepts explaining the effects of inflammation, inflammatory mediators and their signaling effectors on calcium and phosphate homeostasis, osteoblast and osteoclast function, and the potential limitations of vitamin D used as an immunomodulator and anabolic hormone in IBD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G191-G201
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Bone mineral density
  • Crohn's disease
  • Osteopenia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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