Thyroid Hormones and Bone

How Thyroid Hormones Control Bone


Thyroid hormones control growth, shape, and accrual of bone. They are indispensable for normal bone development and homeostasis. As undiagnosed hyperthyroidism is an important risk factor for falls and osteoporotic fractures, we see a need to uncover mechanisms of bone loss associated with altered thyroid function that may translate into better bone health.

In this area, we define how thyroid hormones and their receptors affect bone biology and skeletal strength with a focus on osteocyte biology and associated pathways, including Wnt signalling. Moreover, we are interested in how thyroid hormones enter bone cells to exert their function. Using murine transgenic models as well as pharmacological-induced models of hyperthyroidism combined with translational approaches based on patient biomaterial we aim to decipher underlying mechanisms of disease and contribute to the development of tailored individualized therapies.

Principal Investigators


Elena Tsourdi, MD

«The molecular mechanisms underlying the distinct bone phenotypes caused by thyroid dysfunction are largely unknown-even more the challenge to try to unravel them!»

Martina Rauner, PhD

Martina Rauner, PhD

«The impact of thyroid hormones on bone is extremly strong. I have rarely seen such a high bone turnover as in mice with hyperthyroidism»

Lorenz Hofbauer

Lorenz Hofbauer, MD

«Small hormones, big impact.»

Graham Williams & Duncan Bassett, Imperial College London, UK
Heike Heuer, Universitätsklinikum Essen
Lynda Bonewald, Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health, USA
Josef Köhrle, Charité, Berlin
Mike Ominsky, Radius Inc., USA
Paul Roschger, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Osteology Vienna, Austria
Björn Busse, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Katharina Jähn, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

Nock S, Johann K, Harder L, Wirth EK, Renko K, Höfig C, Kracke V, Hackler J, Engelmann B, Rauner M, Köhrle J, Schomburg L, Homuth G, Völker U, Brabant G, Mittag J. CD5L constitutes a novel biomarker for integrated hepatic thyroid hormone action. Thyroid. 2020. (in press)

Lademann F, Tsourdi E, Hofbauer LC, Rauner M. Thyroid Hormone Actions and Bone Remodeling – The Role of the Wnt Signaling Pathway. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2020. (in press)

Lademann F, Tsourdi E, Rijntjes E, Köhrle J, Hofbauer LC, Heuer H, Rauner M. Lack of the Thyroid Hormone Transporter Mct8 in Osteoblast and Osteoclast Progenitors Increases Trabecular Bone in Male Mice. Thyroid. 2020;30(2):329-342.

Anastasilakis AD, Polyzos SA, Makras P, Rauner M, Sonnleitner L, Hawa G, Tsourdi E, Yavropoulou MP, Missbichler A, Terpos E. Circulating noggin levels following treatment with denosumab or teriparatide in postmenopausal women with low bone mass. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2019;19(3):253-257.

Anastasilakis AD, Tsourdi E, Makras P, Polyzos SA, Meier C, McCloskey EV, Pepe J, Zillikens MC. Bone disease following solid organ transplantation: A narrative review and recommendations for management from The European Calcified Tissue Society. Bone 2019; 127:401-418.

Tsourdi E, Colditz J, Lademann F, Rijntjes E, Köhrle J, Niehrs C, Hofbauer LC, Rauner M. The role of Dickkopf-1 in thyroid hormone-induced changes of bone remodeling in male mice. Endocrinology. 2019;160:664-674.

Tsourdi E, Lademann F, Siggelkow H. Auswirkungen von Schilddrüsenfunktionsstörungen auf den Knochen. Internist. 2018;59:661-67.

Tsourdi E, Lademann F, Ominsky MS, Rijntjes E, Köhrle J, Misof BM, Roschger P, Klaushofer K, Hofbauer LC, Rauner M. Sclerostin blockade and zoledronic acid improve bone mass and strength in male mice with exogenous hyperthyroidism. 2017;158:3765-3777.

Tsourdi E, Wallaschofski H, Rauner M, Nauck M, Pietzner M, Rettig R, Ittermann T, Völzke H, Völker U, Hofbauer LC, Hannemann A. Thyrotropin serum levels are differentially associated with biochemical markers of bone turnover and stiffness in women and men: results from the SHIP cohorts. Osteoporos Int. 2016;27:719-27.

Tsourdi E, Rijntjes E, Köhrle J, Hofbauer LC, Rauner M. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism in male mice and their effects on bone mass, bone turnover, and the Wnt inhibitors sclerostin and dickkopf-1. Endocrinology. 2015;156:3517-27.