Renal Contributions to Age-Related Changes in Mineral Metabolism

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Aging results in a general decline in function in most systems. This is particularly true with respect to the skeleton and renal systems, impacting mineral homeostasis. Calcium and phosphate regulation requires tight coordination among the intestine, bone, parathyroid gland, and kidney. The role of the intestine is to absorb calcium and phosphate from the diet. The bone stores or releases calcium and phosphate depending on the body's needs. In response to low plasma ionized calcium concentration, the parathyroid gland produces parathyroid hormone, which modulates bone turnover. The kidney reabsorbs or excretes the minerals and serves as the final regulator of plasma concentration. Many hormones are involved in this process in addition to parathyroid hormone, including fibroblast growth factor 23 produced by the bone and calcitriol synthesized by the kidney. Sclerostin, calcitonin, osteoprotegerin, and receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand also contribute to tissue-specific regulation. Changes in the function of organs due to aging or disease can perturb this balance. During aging, the intestine cannot absorb calcium efficiently due to decreased expression of key proteins. In the bone, the balance between bone formation and bone resorption tends toward the latter in older individuals. The kidney may not filter blood as efficiently in the later decades of life, and the expression of certain proteins necessary for mineral homeostasis declines with age. These changes often lead to dysregulation of organismal mineral homeostasis. This review will focus on how mineral homeostasis is impacted by aging with a particular emphasis on the kidney's role in this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10517
JournalJBMR Plus
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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