The interconnection between muscle and bone: A common clinical management pathway

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Calcified Tissue International




School of Medical and Health Sciences / Nutrition and Health Innovation Research Institute




Western Australian Future Health and Innovation Fund, Government of Western Australia


Smith, C., Sim, M., Dalla Via, J., Levinger, I., & Duque, G. (2023). The interconnection between muscle and bone: A common clinical management pathway. Calcified Tissue International. Advance online publication.


Often observed with aging, the loss of skeletal muscle (sarcopenia) and bone (osteoporosis) mass, strength, and quality, is associated with reduced physical function contributing to falls and fractures. Such events can lead to a loss of independence and poorer quality of life. Physical inactivity (mechanical unloading), especially in older adults, has detrimental effects on the mass and quality of bone as well as muscle, while increases in activity (mechanical loading) have positive effects. Emerging evidence suggests that the relationship between bone and muscle is driven, at least in part, by bone–muscle crosstalk. Bone and muscle are closely linked anatomically, mechanically, and biochemically, and both have the capacity to function with paracrine and endocrine-like action. However, the exact mechanisms involved in this crosstalk remain only partially explored. Given older adults with lower bone mass are more likely to present with impaired muscle function, and vice versa, strategies capable of targeting both bone and muscle are critical. Exercise is the primary evidence-based prevention strategy capable of simultaneously improving muscle and bone health. Unfortunately, holistic treatment plans including exercise in conjunction with other allied health services to prevent or treat musculoskeletal disease remain underutilized. With a focus on sarcopenia and osteoporosis, the aim of this review is to (i) briefly describe the mechanical and biochemical interactions between bone and muscle; (ii) provide a summary of therapeutic strategies, specifically exercise, nutrition and pharmacological approaches; and (iii) highlight a holistic clinical pathway for the assessment and management of sarcopenia and osteoporosis.



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