Sclerostin's role in bone's adaptive response to mechanical loading

Gabriel L Galea, Lance E Lanyon, Joanna S Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)
371 Downloads (Pure)


Mechanical loading is the primary functional determinant of bone mass and architecture, and osteocytes play a key role in translating mechanical signals into (re)modelling responses. Although the precise mechanisms remain unclear, Wnt signalling pathway components, and the anti-osteogenic canonical Wnt inhibitor Sost/sclerostin in particular, play an important role in regulating bone's adaptive response to loading. Increases in loading-engendered strains down-regulate osteocyte sclerostin expression, whereas reduced strains, as in disuse, are associated with increased sclerostin production and bone loss. However, while sclerostin up-regulation appears to be necessary for the loss of bone with disuse, the role of sclerostin in the osteogenic response to loading is more complex. While mice unable to down-regulate sclerostin do not gain bone with loading, Sost knockout mice have an enhanced osteogenic response to loading. The molecular mechanisms by which osteocytes sense and transduce loading-related stimuli into changes in sclerostin expression remain unclear but include several, potentially interlinked, signalling cascades involving periostin/integrin, prostaglandin, estrogen receptor, calcium/NO and Igf signalling. Deciphering the mechanisms by which changes in the mechanical environment regulate sclerostin production may lead to the development of therapeutic strategies that can reverse the skeletal structural deterioration characteristic of disuse and age-related osteoporosis and enhance bones' functional adaptation to loading. By enhancing the osteogenic potential of the context in which individual therapies such as sclerostin antibodies act it may become possible to both prevent and reverse the age-related skeletal structural deterioration characteristic of osteoporosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
Early online date12 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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