Early life factors in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis.
Winsloe C., Earl S., Dennison EM., Cooper C., Harvey NC.
Osteoporosis is a major public health burden through associated fragility fractures. Bone mass, a composite of bone size and volumetric density, increases through early life and childhood to a peak in early adulthood. The peak bone mass attained is a strong predictor of future risk of osteoporosis. Evidence is accruing that environmental factors in utero and in early infancy may permanently modify the postnatal pattern of skeletal growth to peak and thus influence risk of osteoporosis in later life. This article describes the latest data in this exciting area of research, including novel epigenetic and translation work, which should help to elucidate the underlying mechanisms and give rise to potential public health interventions to reduce the burden of osteoporotic fracture in future generations.