Osteoporosis is a leading public health problem in our rapidly growing, aging population. It is characterized by reduced bone mass and microarchitectural deterioration of bone tissue, with a consequent, increase in bone fragility and susceptibility to fracture risk. Osteoporosis is a complex multifactorial disease, determined by genetic and environmental factors as well as their interactions. A large number of molecular, genetic and environmental factors underlying osteoporosis have been identified in past decades. In this article, we review 1) the molecular mechanisms of several principal systemic and local factors regulating bone metabolism; and 2) the current status of genetic studies searching for genes underlying osteoporosis. Further, we attempt to integrate knowledge from those two fields, and their potential implications for osteoporosis treatment.
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