EMF and bone formation/resorption (1995-2005)

Logo KUL

KU Leuven
Experimentele Geneeskunde en Endocrinologie
Oude Markt 13, Leuven, België

Activity reports


R. Bouillon, G. Carmeliet & E. Daci

Exogenously applied EMF’s affect bone metabolism. Based on this property, EMF’s have been successfully used in clinical orthopaedic practice. However, the cellular mechanism(s) by which EMF enhance bone (re)modelling and repair are still elusive. This was the major target of our research. We have shown that EMF do not affect the function of osteoblasts (bone forming cells) in vitro but do decrease osteoclastogenesis and can possibly be regarded as an anti-resorptive bone agent.


R. Bouillon, G. Carmeliet & E. Daci

Electromagnetic fields (EMF) are reported to have some beneficial effects on bone and it has been suggested that they stimulate bone formation and inhibit bone resorption. The aim of this project is to investigate the effects of EMF on bone cells in vitro. Exogenously induced EMF have only minimal effects on bone forming cells (osteoblasts).

On the other hand, EMF decrease the formation of bone resorbing cells (osteoclasts) by inhibiting cell proliferation. Suppression of osteoclast formation by EMF involves a direct effect of EMF on osteoclast precursors and is not mediated by interaction with osteoblastic/stromal cells. EMF do not affect the ability of normally formed bone resorbing cells to resorb calcified tissues. Taken together, these data provide a mechanism by which EMF may reduce bone resorption and consequently increase bone mass.