Mechanisms of action and therapeutic potential of strontium in bone.
The processes of bone resorption and formation are tightly governed by a variety of systemic and local regulatory agents. In addition, minerals and trace elements affect bone formation and resorption through direct or indirect effects on bone cells or bone mineral. Some trace elements closely chemically related to calcium, such as strontium (Sr), have pharmacological effects on bone when present at levels higher than those required for normal cell physiology. Indeed, strontium was found to exert several effects on bone cells. In addition to its antiresorptive activity, strontium was found to have anabolic activity in bone, and this may have significant beneficial effects on bone balance in normal and osteopenic animals. Accordingly, strontium has been thought to have potential interest in the treatment of osteoporosis. This review summarizes the mechanisms of action of strontium on bone cells, the evidence for its beneficial effects on bone mass in vivo, and its potential therapeutic effects in osteopenic disorders.