The Role of Nerves in Skeletal Development, Adaptation, and Aging

Ryan E. Tomlinson, Blaine A. Christiansen, Adrienne A. Giannone, Damian C Genetos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The skeleton is well-innervated, but only recently have the functions of this complex network in bone started to become known. Although our knowledge of skeletal sensory and sympathetic innervation is incomplete, including the specific locations and subtypes of nerves in bone, we are now able to reconcile early studies utilizing denervation models with recent work dissecting the molecular signaling between bone and nerve. In total, sensory innervation functions in bone much as it does elsewhere in the body—to sense and respond to stimuli, including mechanical loading. Similarly, sympathetic nerves regulate autonomic functions related to bone, including homeostatic remodeling and vascular tone. However, more study is required to translate our current knowledge of bone-nerve crosstalk to novel therapeutic strategies that can be effectively utilized to combat skeletal diseases, disorders of low bone mass, and age-related decreases in bone quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number646
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
StatePublished - Sep 23 2020


  • aging
  • bone
  • disuse
  • mechanotransduction
  • nervous system
  • skeleton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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