Is there a connection between the intestinal microbiota and osteoporosis?


The identification of certain bacterial profiles in the intestinal microbiota, likely responsible for weakening of the bone, may be useful diagnostic and therapeutic tools for osteoporosis.


Osteoporosis affects 75 million people, mostly women and more generally the elderly, in the United States, Europe, and Japan. It is responsible for 8.9 million fractures every year. For several years, studies have suggested that the intestinal microbiota is involved in the weakening of the bone, particularly through the action of commensal bacteria on the immune system and metabolism.

Chinese researchers compared the composition of the intestinal microbiota of patients with osteoporosis or osteopenia (a precursor stage of osteoporosis) to that of subjects with good bone health. They observed changes in the intestinal microbiota associated with bone damage: overall increase in bacterial diversity, appearance of communities totally absent in healthy subjects (Synergistetes, Gemmatimonadetes, Chloroflexi, etc.), increase in Firmicutes and decrease in Bacteroidetes.

 According to the authors, the identification of these bacterial profiles, once they are confirmed by other teams, may be useful to establish new diagnostic criteria for osteoporosis, and to design new therapeutic approaches.


Wang J et al.  Diversity analysis of gut microbiota in osteoporosis and osteopenia patients. PeerJ 52017 :e3450; DOI 10.7717/peerj.3450