It has been long known that estrogen plays significant role in healthy bone density. When the levels of estrogen in the body decrease, bones become brittle and break easily.

Researchers from the University of Buffalo managed to find a pathway by which estradiol, the primary estrogen in humans, aids in maintaining bone density.

Estradiol was found to stop the activation of an enzyme known as caspase-3 and maintain bone density that way. Caspase-3 is the main player in initiating the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death of osteoblasts, the bone cells that aid in the growth and development of new bone and teeth.

The study was presented last week in New Orleans during a meeting of the International Association of Dental Research by Associate Professor Peter Bradford, doctoral candidate Brian Chrzan and dental student Kenneth Gerace.