Bone is a multi-skilled tissue, protecting major organs, regulating calcium phosphate balance and producing hormones. Its development during childhood determines height and stature as well as resistance against fracture in advanced age. Estrogens are key regulators of bone turnover in both females and males. These hormones play a major role in longitudinal and width growth throughout puberty as well as in the regulation of bone turnover. In women, estrogen deficiency is one of the major causes of postmenopausal osteoporosis. In this review, we will summarize the main clinical and experimental studies reporting the effects of estrogens not only in females but also in males, during different life stages. Effects of estrogens on bone involve either Estrogen Receptor (ER)α or ERβ depending on the type of bone (femur, vertebrae, tibia, mandible), the compartment (trabecular or cortical), cell types involved (osteoclasts, osteoblasts and osteocytes) and sex. Finally, we will discuss new ongoing strategies to increase the benefit/risk ratio of the hormonal treatment of menopause.
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