Osteoporosis and body composition.

G. Crepaldi, G. Romanato, P. Tonin, S. Maggi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Epidemiologic Study on the Prevalence of Osteoporosis in Italy showed that the prevalence of osteoporosis among women and men aged 60 yr and over is 22.8% and 14.5%, respectively, giving rise to about 80,000 new fractures a yr. Sarcopenia is considered to be one of the main features of the aging process. It is characterized by a reduction in muscle mass and muscle strength, and affects women more than men. It is associated with a increased risk of fractures consequent upon a greater predisposition to falls, but also to the lack of bone remodeling due to reduced muscle mechanical strength. Muscle strength determines quality bone modifications such as density, strength, and microarchitecture. Variations in the ratios of cortical and muscle areas give rise to various types of osteoporosis, with different risks of fracture. Bone mineral density increases with body fat mass, and obesity has a protective effect against osteoporosis. This protective effect is explained by a combination of hormonal (peripheral aromatization of androgens to estrogens in adipose tissue) and mechanical factors (on weight-bearing bone sites), but the hormone leptin also probably mediates fat and bone mass. Serum leptin levels are closely related to body fat mass, and some findings suggest the peripheral effect of leptin, which exerts estrogenic effects, enhancing osteoblastic differentiation and inhibiting late adipocytic differentiation. The overall effect of leptin on bone results from a balance between negative central effects and positive direct peripheral effects, according to serum leptin levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number6 Suppl
Publication statusPublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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