The role of DNA methylation in common skeletal disorders

Jesús Delgado-Calle, José A. Riancho

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

16 Scopus citations


Bone is a complex connective tissue characterized by a calcified extracellular matrix. This mineralized matrix is constantly being formed and resorbed throughout life, allowing the bone to adapt to daily mechanical loads and maintain skeletal properties and composition. The imbalance between bone formation and bone resorption leads to changes in bone mass. This is the case of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, two common skeletal disorders. While osteoporosis is characterized by a decreased bone mass and, consequently, higher susceptibly to fractures, bone mass tends to be higher in patients with osteoarthritis, especially in the subchondral bone region. It is known that these diseases are influenced by heritable factors. However, the DNA polymorphisms identified so far in GWAS explain less than 10% of the genetic risk, suggesting that other factors, and specifically epigenetic mechanisms, are involved in the pathogenesis of these disorders. This review summarizes current knowledge about the influence of epigenetic marks on bone homeostasis, paying special attention to the role of DNA methylation in the onset and progression of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-713
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 22 2012


  • Epigenetics
  • Gene expression
  • Genetics
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Osteoporosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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