This minireview on skeletal biology describes the actions of prostaglandins and cytokines involved in the local regulation of bone metabolism, it documents the role of lipids in bone biology, and it presents relationships between fatty acids and other factors that impact skeletal metabolism.

The data presented herein show consistent and reproducible beneficial effects of omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids on bone metabolism and bone/joint diseases. Polyunsaturated fatty acids modulate eicosanoid biosynthesis in numerous tissues and cell types, alter signal transduction, and influence gene expression. These effects have not been explored in the skeletal system.

Future research on n-3 fatty acids in bone biology should focus on the following two aspects. First, the further elucidation of how n-3 fatty acids alter biochemical and molecular processes involved in bone modeling and bone cell differentiation, and second, the evaluation of the potential pharmaceutical applications of these nutraceutical fatty acids in maintaining bone mineral status and controlling inflammatory bone/joint diseases.