Bone Metabolism

Diseases affecting bone and mineral metabolism encompass a wide range of skeletal and soft tissue disorders. Broadly, these disorders may be grouped as osteoporosis, osteomalacia, hyperparathyroidism, Paget disease of bone, and developmental disorders of bone. Age-related osteoporosis affects about 28 million Americans, and the cost of caring for osteoporosis-related fractures has recently been estimated to be about $14.8 billion each year. Other metabolic bone diseases are relatively less common, but nevertheless are a source of significant morbidity and cost to society.

Faculty investigators in the Metabolic Bone Disease Core Group of the Mayo Clinic Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism conduct basic and clinical research programs addressing many of the major aspects of bone and mineral metabolism. These programs include research into basic mechanisms of normal skeletal development (Dr. Kearns) and age-related bone acquisition and loss (Drs. Riggs, Khosla, Fitzpatrick, and Conover), assisted by faculty investigators in the Department of Health Sciences Research (Dr. Joseph Melton, III), Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Dr. Thomas Spelsberg), Department of Orthopedic Surgery (Dr. Russell Turner), and Department of Nuclear Medicine (Dr. Brian Mullan). Other basic and clinical research programs address bone loss due to secondary causes, that is, due to other diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, organ transplantation, or cancer) or medications (such as glucocorticoids and other immunosuppressive agents) (Drs. Riggs, Khosla, Fitzpatrick, Kearns, and Clarke). Basic mechanisms of tumor-associated osteomalacia are studied by Dr. Rajiv Kumar of the Division of Nephrology in conjunction with Dr. Hodgson. Clinical research programs evaluate the epidemiology and treatment of primary hyperparathyroidism (Drs. Khosla and Wermers) and Paget disease (Dr. Tiegs) in conjunction with Dr. Joseph Melton of the Department of Health Sciences Research. Certain developmental or developmentally related skeletal disorders, such as osteogenesis imperfecta and heterotopic osseous heteroplasia, are also being investigated, as are effects of estrogen on cardiovascular pathophysiology (Dr. Fitzpatrick).


Bart Clarke, M.D., Research Representative
Cheryl Conover, Ph.D.
Daniel Hurley, M.D.
Ann Kearns, M.D.
Sundeep Khosla, M.D.
Lawrence Riggs, M.D.
Robert Tiegs, M.D.
Robert Wermers, M.D.