The Effect of Abnormal Iron Metabolism on Osteoporosis

  • Jingmin Che
  • Jiancheng Yang
  • Bin Zhao
  • Ge Zhang
  • Luyao Wang
  • Songlin Peng
  • Peng ShangEmail author


Iron is one of the important trace elements in life activities. Abnormal iron metabolism increases the incidence of many skeletal diseases, especially for osteoporosis. Iron metabolism plays a key role in the bone homeostasis. Disturbance of iron metabolism not only promotes osteoclast differentiation and apoptosis of osteoblasts but also inhibits proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts, which eventually destroys the balance of bone remodeling. The strength and density of bone can be weakened by the disordered iron metabolism, which increases the incidence of osteoporosis. Clinically, compounds or drugs that regulate iron metabolism are used for the treatment of osteoporosis. The goal of this review summarizes the new progress on the effect of iron overload or deficiency on osteoporosis and the mechanism of disordered iron metabolism on osteoporosis. Explaining the relationship of iron metabolism with osteoporosis may provide ideas for clinical treatment and development of new drugs.


Iron metabolism Osteoporosis Iron overload Iron deficiency 



divalent metal transporter 1






transferrin receptor 1


six-transmembrane epithelial antigen of the prostate


mitochondria-specific Ft type


iron-regulatory proteins


iron-responsive elements


bone morphogenetic protein


receptor activator of nuclear factor κB




Alkaline phosphatase


Runt-related transcription factor 2




bone sialoprotein


reactive oxygen species


mitogen-activated protein kinase


extracellular signal-regulated kinases


c-Jun-N-terminal kinase


bone-specific alkaline phosphatase




N-terminal propeptide of type I procollagen




bone minimum density


matrix metalloproteinase 9


cathepsin K




hypoxia-inducible factor



We would like to thank Dr. Xu-Hui Li for the suggestions and comments. We thank Dr. Debiroundtree for the language support.


This review is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51777171), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (3102017OQD111), the Northwestern Polytechnical University Foundation for Fundamental Research (3102018JGC012), and the Science and Technology Planning Project of Shenzhen of China (JCYJ20170412140904406).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research & Development Institute of Northwestern Polytechnical University in ShenzhenShenzhenChina
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’anChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory for Space Bioscience and BiotechnologyNorthwestern Polytechnical UniversityXi’anChina
  4. 4.Institute for Advancing Translational Medicine in Bone & Joint Diseases, School of Chinese MedicineHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongChina
  5. 5.Department of Spine SurgeryShenzhen People’s HospitalShenzhenChina

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