The osteoimmunology of alveolar bone loss

Kevin A Tompkins
Connective Tissue Research 2016, 57 (2): 69-90
The mineralized structure of bone undergoes constant remodeling by the balanced actions of bone-producing osteoblasts and bone-resorbing osteoclasts (OCLs). Physiologic bone remodeling occurs in response to the body's need to respond to changes in electrolyte levels, or mechanical forces on bone. There are many pathological conditions, however, that cause an imbalance between bone production and resorption due to excessive OCL action that results in net bone loss. Situations involving chronic or acute inflammation are often associated with net bone loss, and research into understanding the mechanisms regulating this bone loss has led to the development of the field of osteoimmunology. It is now evident that the skeletal and immune systems are functionally linked and share common cells and signaling molecules. This review discusses the signaling system of immune cells and cytokines regulating aberrant OCL differentiation and activity. The role of these cells and cytokines in the bone loss occurring in periodontal disease (PD) (chronic inflammation) and orthodontic tooth movement (OTM) (acute inflammation) is then described. The review finishes with an exploration of the emerging role of Notch signaling in the development of the immune cells and OCLs that are involved in osteoimmunological bone loss and the research into Notch signaling in OTM and PD.

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