TitleInfluence of body weight on bone mass, architecture and turnover.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsIwaniec, UT, Turner, RT
JournalJ Endocrinol
Date Published09/2016

Weight-dependent loading of the skeleton plays an important role in establishing and maintaining bone mass and strength. This review focuses on mechanical signaling induced by body weight as an essential mechanism for maintaining bone health. In addition, the skeletal effects of deviation from normal weight are discussed. The magnitude of mechanical strain experienced by bone during normal activities is remarkably similar among vertebrates, regardless of size, supporting the existence of a conserved regulatory mechanism, or mechanostat, that senses mechanical strain. The mechanostat functions as an adaptive mechanism to optimize bone mass and architecture based on prevailing mechanical strain. Changes in weight, due to altered mass, weightlessness (spaceflight), and hypergravity (modeled by centrifugation), induce an adaptive skeletal response. However, the precise mechanisms governing the skeletal response are incompletely understood. Furthermore, establishing whether the adaptive response maintains the mechanical competence of the skeleton has proven difficult, necessitating the development of surrogate measures of bone quality. The mechanostat is influenced by regulatory inputs to facilitate non-mechanical functions of the skeleton, such as mineral homeostasis, as well as hormones and energy/nutrient availability that support bone metabolism. Although the skeleton is very capable of adapting to changes in weight, the mechanostat has limits. At the limits, extreme deviations from normal weight and body composition are associated with impaired optimization of bone strength to prevailing body size.

Alternate JournalJ. Endocrinol.
PubMed ID27352896
PubMed Central IDPMC4980254
Grant ListR01 AR060913 / AR / NIAMS NIH HHS / United States