The role of biomineralization in disorders of skeletal development and tooth formation

Christopher S. Kovacs, Catherine Chaussain, Philip Osdoby, Maria Luisa Brandi, Bart Clarke, Rajesh V. Thakker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The major mineralized tissues are bone and teeth, which share several mechanisms governing their development and mineralization. This crossover includes the hormones that regulate circulating calcium and phosphate concentrations, and the genes that regulate the differentiation and transdifferentiation of cells. In developing endochondral bone and in developing teeth, parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) acts in chondrocytes to delay terminal differentiation, thereby increasing the pool of precursor cells. Chondrocytes and (in specific circumstances) pre-odontoblasts can also transdifferentiate into osteoblasts. Moreover, bone and teeth share outcomes when affected by systemic disorders of mineral homeostasis or of the extracellular matrix, and by adverse effects of treatments such as bisphosphonates and fluoride. Unlike bone, teeth have more permanent effects from systemic disorders because they are not remodelled after they are formed. This Review discusses the normal processes of bone and tooth development, followed by disorders that have effects on both bone and teeth, versus disorders that have effects in one without affecting the other. The takeaway message is that bone specialists should know when to screen for dental disorders, just as dental specialists should recognize when a tooth disorder should raise suspicions about a possible underlying bone disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-349
Number of pages14
JournalNature Reviews Endocrinology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


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