Osteoporosis International

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 267–276 | Cite as

Pulsed electromagnetic fields: promising treatment for osteoporosis

  • T. Wang
  • L. Yang
  • J. Jiang
  • Y. Liu
  • Z. Fan
  • C. Zhong
  • C. HeEmail author
Review Article


Osteoporosis (OP) is considered to be a well-defined disease which results in high morbidity and mortality. In patients diagnosed with OP, low bone mass and fragile bone strength have been demonstrated to significantly increase risk of fragility fractures. To date, various anabolic and antiresorptive therapies have been applied to maintain healthy bone mass and strength. Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) are employed to treat patients suffering from delayed fracture healing and nonunions. Although PEMFs stimulate osteoblastogenesis, suppress osteoclastogenesis, and influence the activity of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) and osteocytes, ultimately leading to retention of bone mass and strength. However, whether PEMFs could be taken into clinical use to treat OP is still unknown. Furthermore, the deeper signaling pathways underlying the way in which PEMFs influence OP remain unclear.


BMSCs Osteoblasts Osteoclasts Osteocytes Osteoporosis PEMFs 



alkaline phosphatase


bone mineral density


bone morphogenetic protein 2


bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells


bone-specific alkaline phosphatase


carbonic anhydrase II


cathepsin K


C-terminal telopeptide


dickkopf-related protein 1


extracellular matrix


extracellular regulated protein kinases




gap junction intercellular communication


high-mobility group protein B1


insulin-like growth factor


interleukin 1 beta


interleukin 6


insulin receptor substrate-I


matrix metalloproteinase


mesenchymal marrow stromal/stem cells


mammalian target of rapamycin


nuclear factor of activated T cells 1


nuclear factor kappa B


nitric oxide


NO synthase










pulsed electromagnetic fields


prostaglandin E2


propeptide type I collagen


postmenopausal osteoporosis


peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma


parathyroid hormone


receptor-activator of nuclear factor kappa B


RANK ligand


runt-related transcription factor 2


spinal cord injury


transforming growth factor


tumor necrosis factor-alpha


tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b


vascular endothelial growth factor



We thank International Science Editing ( for editing this manuscript.

Funding information

This work was supported by Grants from National Natural ScienceFoundation of China (81572236 to C Q He), the Chengdu Bureau ofScience and Technology(No. 2015-HM02-00042-SF to C Q He )andSichuan science and Technology (No2015$Z0054 to C Q He).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • L. Yang
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Jiang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Y. Liu
    • 3
  • Z. Fan
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Zhong
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. He
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Rehabilitation Medicine, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Ophthalmology, West China HospitalSichuan UniversityChengduChina

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