How do hormones regulate bone remodeling?

David Slovik, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
The bone remodeling process maintains the skeleton by replacing old bone with new. This important task in the body's housekeeping scheme requires more than osteoclasts (cells that break down bone) and osteoblasts (construction cells); a host of hormones work quietly behind the scenes to influence the behavior of cells.
Parathyroid hormone, which is secreted by small islands of tissue near the thyroid gland, is a primary force in resorption, the process by which calcium is released from bones. Parathyroid hormone is secreted when the level of calcium in the blood falls below the amount needed by the body's cells. This hormone helps restore the appropriate levels of calcium in the blood in several ways. It promotes the absorption of calcium by the digestive system and slows the excretion of calcium into the urine. It also stimulates osteoclasts to break down bone to release calcium into the blood. When the calcium level in the blood is adequate, the production of parathyroid hormone falls.
It takes a sizeable squad of other hormones and substances to carry out bone formation. For example, vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) plays a pivotal role, limiting withdrawals of calcium from bone by promoting calcium absorption from food in the intestines.

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