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28.08.2018 | Epidemiology and Pathophysiology (F Cosman and D Shoback, Section Editors) | Ausgabe 5/2018

Current Osteoporosis Reports 5/2018

Current Understanding of the Pathophysiology of Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

Current Osteoporosis Reports > Ausgabe 5/2018
J. Chang, A. E. Hakam, L. K. McCauley
Wichtige Hinweise
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Epidemiology and Pathophysiology


Purpose of Review

Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) is a rare and severe necrotic bone disease reflecting a compromise in the body’s osseous healing mechanisms and unique to the craniofacial region. Antiresorptive and antiangiogenic medications have been suggested to be associated with the occurrence of ONJ; yet, the pathophysiology of this disease has not been fully elucidated. This article raises the current theories underlying the pathophysiology of ONJ.

Recent Findings

The proposed mechanisms highlight the unique localization of ONJ. The evidence-based mechanisms of ONJ pathogenesis include disturbed bone remodeling, inflammation or infection, altered immunity, soft tissue toxicity, and angiogenesis inhibition. The role of dental infections and the oral microbiome is central to ONJ, and systemic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes mellitus contribute through their impact on immune resiliency.


Current experimental studies on mechanisms of ONJ are summarized. The definitive pathophysiology is as yet unclear. Recent studies are beginning to clarify the relative importance of the proposed mechanisms. A better understanding of osteoimmunology and the relationship of angiogenesis to the development of ONJ is needed along with detailed studies of the impact of drug holidays on the clinical condition of ONJ.

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