Eur J Pharmacol doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2021.174219. .
Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) exerts a protective effect against cell damage and induces the activity of many enzymes involved in the treatment of many human diseases, including osteoporosis. The increasing prevalence of osteoporosis and the limitations of the current treatments available led to a continuous occurrence of bone loss and osteoporotic fractures, highlighting the need of a better understanding of the mechanism and function of HO-1. Many factors cause osteoporosis, including lack of estrogen, aging, and iron overload, and they either cause the increase in inflammatory factors or the increase in reactive oxygen species to break bone reconstruction balance. Therefore, regulating the production of inflammatory factors and reactive oxygen species may become a strategy for the treatment of osteoporosis. Solid evidence showed that the overexpression of HO-1 compensates high oxidation levels by increasing intracellular antioxidant levels and reduces inflammation by suppressing pro-inflammatory factors. Some extracts can target HO-1 and ameliorate osteoporosis. However, no systematic report is available on therapies targeting HO-1 to combat osteoporosis. Therefore, this review summarizes the biological characteristics of HO-1, and the relationship between inflammatory response and reactive oxygen species production regulated by HO-1 and osteoporosis. The understanding of the role of HO-1 in osteoporosis may provide ideas for a potential clinical treatment and new drugs targeting HO-1.