Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 24, Issue 11, pp 806–808 | Cite as

Essence of “Shen (Kidney) Controlling Bones”: Conceptual Analysis Based on Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal-Osteo-Related Cells Axis

  • Tao-tao Xu
  • Hong-ting Jin
  • Pei-jian TongEmail author
Feature Article


As a traditional concept of Chinese medicine (CM), the theory of “Shen (Kidney) controlling bones” has been gradually proven. And in modern allopathic medicine, the multiple mechanisms of bone growth, development and regeneration align with the theory. Shen deficiency as a pathological condition has a negative effect on the skeleton of body, specifically the disorder of bone homeostasis. Present studies indicate that Shen deficiency shares a common disorder characterized by dysfunction of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. HPA axis may be an important regulator of bone diseases with abnormal homeostasis. Therefore, we posit the existence of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-osteo-related cells axis: cells that comprise bone tissue (osteo-related cells) are targets under the regulation of HPA axis in disorder of bone homeostasis. Chinese herbs for nourishing Shen have potential in the development of treatments for disorder of bone homeostasis.


Chinese medicine Shen (Kidney) controlling bones hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis bone homeostasis osteoporosis 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.First Clinical Medical College of Zhejiang Chinese Medical UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Institute of Orthopaedics and TraumatologyFirst Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical UniversityHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of OrthopaedicsFirst Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical UniversityHangzhouChina

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