Perspective on post-menopausal osteoporosis: establishing an interdisciplinary understanding of the sequence of events from the molecular level to whole bone fractures
McNamara, L. M.
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McNamara, L. M. (2009). Perspective on post-menopausal osteoporosis: establishing an interdisciplinary understanding of the sequence of events from the molecular level to whole bone fractures. Journal of The Royal Society Interface 7 (44), 353-372
Current drug treatments for post-menopausal osteoporosis cannot eliminate bone fractures, possibly because the mechanisms responsible for bone loss are not fully understood. Although research within various disciplines has significantly advanced the state of knowledge, fundamental findings are not widely understood between different disciplines. For that reason, this paper presents noteworthy experimental findings from discrete disciplines focusing on post-menopausal osteoporosis. These studies have established that, in addition to bone loss, significant changes in bone micro-architecture, tissue composition and micro-damage occur. Cellular processes and molecular signalling pathways governing pathological bone resorption have been identified to a certain extent. Ongoing studies endeavour to determine how such changes are initiated at the onset of oestrogen deficiency. It emerges that, because of the discrete nature of previous research studies, the sequence of events that lead to bone fracture is not fully understood. In this paper, two sequences of multi-scale changes are proposed and the experimental challenges that need to be overcome to fully de. ne this sequence are outlined. Future studies must comprehensively characterize the time sequence of molecular, cellular-and tissue-level changes to attain a coherent understanding of the events that ultimately lead to bone fracture and inform the future development of treatments for post-menopausal osteoporosis.