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Biomineralization is the process by which organisms produce mineralized tissues. This crucial process makes possible the rigidity and flexibility that the skeleton needs for ambulation and protection of vital organs, and the hardness that teeth require to tear and grind food. The skeleton also serves as a source of mineral in times of short supply, and the intestines absorb and the kidneys reclaim or excrete minerals as needed. This Review focuses on physiological and pathological aspects of the hormonal regulation of biomineralization. We discuss the roles of calcium and inorganic phosphate, dietary intake of minerals and the delicate balance between activators and inhibitors of mineralization. We also highlight the importance of tight regulation of serum concentrations of calcium and phosphate, and the major regulators of biomineralization: parathyroid hormone (PTH), the vitamin D system, vitamin K, fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) and phosphatase enzymes. Finally, we summarize how developmental stresses in the fetus and neonate, and in the mother during pregnancy and lactation, invoke alternative hormonal regulatory pathways to control mineral delivery, skeletal metabolism and biomineralization.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/s41574-021-00477-2

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nat Rev Endocrinol

Publication Date

16/03/2021