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Ann-Kristin Picke, Graeme Campbell, Nicola Napoli, Lorenz C Hofbauer and Martina Rauner

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is increasing worldwide, especially as a result of our aging society, high caloric intake and sedentary lifestyle. Besides the well-known complications of T2DM on the cardiovascular system, the eyes, kidneys and nerves, bone strength is also impaired in diabetic patients. Patients with T2DM have a 40–70% increased risk for fractures, despite having a normal to increased bone mineral density, suggesting that other factors besides bone quantity must account for increased bone fragility. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the complex effects of T2DM on bone including effects on bone cells, bone material properties and other endocrine systems that subsequently affect bone, discusses the effects of T2DM medications on bone and concludes with a model identifying factors that may contribute to poor bone quality and increased bone fragility in T2DM.

Open access

Sylvia Thiele, Anke Hannemann, Maria Winzer, Ulrike Baschant, Heike Weidner, Matthias Nauck, Rajesh V Thakker, Martin Bornhäuser, Lorenz C Hofbauer and Martina Rauner

Glucocorticoids (GC) are used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, including various forms of arthritis. However, their use is limited, amongst others, by adverse effects on bone. The Wnt and bone formation inhibitor sclerostin was recently implicated in the pathogenesis of GC-induced osteoporosis. However, data are ambiguous. The aim of this study was to assess the regulation of sclerostin by GC using several mouse models with high GC levels and two independent cohorts of patients treated with GC. Male 24-week-old C57BL/6 and 18-week-old DBA/1 mice exposed to GC and 12-week-old mice with endogenous hypercortisolism displayed reduced bone formation as indicated by reduced levels of P1NP and increased serum sclerostin levels. The expression of sclerostin in femoral bone tissue and GC-treated bone marrow stromal cells, however, was not consistently altered. In contrast, GC dose- and time-dependently suppressed sclerostin at mRNA and protein levels in human mesenchymal stromal cells, and this effect was GC receptor dependent. In line with the human cell culture data, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA, n = 101) and polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR, n = 21) who were exposed to GC had lower serum levels of sclerostin than healthy age- and sex-matched controls (−40%, P < 0.01 and −26.5%, P < 0.001, respectively). In summary, sclerostin appears to be differentially regulated by GC in mice and humans as it is suppressed by GCs in humans but is not consistently altered in mice. Further studies are required to delineate the differences between GC regulation of sclerostin in mice and humans and assess whether sclerostin mediates GC-induced osteoporosis in humans.