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Bone Deposition vs. Bone Resorption: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson & Harlon Moss || Published on May 25, 2024
Bone deposition and bone resorption are two complementary processes involved in bone remodeling, maintaining bone strength and calcium homeostasis.

Key Differences

Bone deposition is the process by which new bone tissue is formed, involving osteoblasts that produce osteoid, which is then mineralized to become new bone. Bone resorption, on the other hand, involves the breakdown of bone tissue by osteoclasts, releasing minerals like calcium and phosphorus back into the bloodstream. While deposition adds to bone mass and strength, resorption removes old or damaged bone, making way for new growth and adjusting the bone's architecture to meet changing mechanical needs.
The balance between bone deposition and resorption is crucial for maintaining healthy bone density and structure. In children and young adults, deposition outpaces resorption, leading to bone growth. In adults, the processes generally balance each other out, but with aging, resorption can exceed deposition, potentially leading to conditions like osteoporosis. Hormones like parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcitonin, along with mechanical stress and dietary factors, play significant roles in regulating these processes.
Bone deposition's role is not only in growth but also in healing, as it repairs fractures by producing new bone. Resorption is essential for shaping bones during growth and adapting bone structure to stress, preventing the accumulation of old, brittle bone tissue. Dysregulation of these processes can lead to bone diseases: excessive resorption or inadequate deposition can weaken bones, while excessive deposition can lead to abnormal bone growth.
Understanding the dynamic balance between bone deposition and resorption is key in fields like orthopedics, endocrinology, and gerontology, informing treatments for bone disorders and strategies for maintaining bone health throughout life.

Comparison Chart


Formation of new bone tissue.
Breakdown of existing bone tissue.

Cells Involved


Role in Growth

Increases bone mass and strength.
Shapes bones and removes old or damaged bone.


Influenced by hormones (e.g., calcitonin), vitamins, and mechanical stress.
Regulated by hormones (e.g., PTH), nutritional factors, and mechanical load.

Impact on Bone Health

Essential for growth, healing, and maintaining bone density.
Necessary for bone remodeling, calcium homeostasis, and adapting bone to stress.

Bone Deposition and Bone Resorption Definitions

Bone Deposition

The repair process of broken bone.
Bone deposition plays a key role in the formation of new bone during fracture healing.

Bone Resorption

The process of releasing calcium from bone to blood.
Bone resorption is crucial for regulating blood calcium levels by releasing stored calcium from bones.

Bone Deposition

The hardening of the osteoid by depositing calcium and phosphate.
Bone deposition includes the mineralization phase, crucial for bone strength.

Bone Resorption

The process by which osteoclasts break down bone tissue.
Osteoclasts attach to the bone surface and dissolve the mineral and matrix, leading to resorption.

Bone Deposition

The increase in bone size and density.
Bone deposition is responsible for the growth and thickening of bones during development.

Bone Resorption

The breakdown of the organic part of bone.
Enzymes released by osteoclasts degrade collagen and other proteins in the bone matrix.

Bone Deposition

The process by which osteoblasts lay down new bone tissue.
Osteoblasts synthesize the osteoid, which mineralizes to form new bone during deposition.

Bone Resorption

The continuous renewal of bone.
Resorption is part of the bone remodeling cycle, removing old or damaged bone to make way for new growth.

Bone Deposition

The creation of the organic part of bone.
During deposition, osteoblasts produce collagen fibers that form the bone matrix.

Bone Resorption

The mechanism osteoclasts use to dissolve bone.
Osteoclasts secrete hydrochloric acid to break down the mineral component of bone during resorption.


Why is bone deposition important?

It's essential for growth, healing fractures, and maintaining bone strength and density by replacing old or damaged bone tissue.

What stimulates bone deposition?

It's stimulated by physical activity, mechanical stress, and nutritional factors like adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D, as well as certain hormones including estrogen and growth hormone.

How does bone deposition contribute to bone strength?

By laying down new bone material, it increases bone mass and density, thus enhancing bone strength.

What is bone deposition?

Bone deposition is the process where new bone tissue is formed by cells called osteoblasts, which lay down new bone material, primarily collagen and calcium phosphate.

Which cells are primarily involved in bone deposition?

Osteoblasts are the primary cells responsible for bone deposition.

What is bone resorption?

Bone resorption is the process by which osteoclasts break down bone tissue, releasing minerals like calcium into the bloodstream.

Why is bone resorption necessary?

It's crucial for the removal of old or damaged bone, regulating calcium levels in the blood, and shaping bones during growth and healing.

What stimulates bone resorption?

Factors include hormonal changes (e.g., decrease in estrogen), dietary deficiencies in calcium, and lack of mechanical stress or physical activity.

How do bone deposition and resorption work together?

They work in a dynamic balance to remodel bone, maintaining its shape, strength, and the regulation of mineral homeostasis in the body.

Which cells are primarily involved in bone resorption?

Osteoclasts are the primary cells responsible for bone resorption.

How do hormones affect bone deposition and resorption?

Hormones like parathyroid hormone (PTH), calcitonin, and sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) play critical roles in regulating these processes.

Can nutrition impact bone deposition and resorption?

Yes, adequate intake of calcium, vitamin D, and protein are essential for healthy bone deposition and limiting excessive resorption.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weakened bones due to more bone mass being resorbed than deposited, increasing fracture risk.

How is the balance between bone deposition and resorption measured?

Bone density scans, such as DEXA scans, can assess bone health and the balance between these processes over time.

How does bone resorption affect bone density?

Excessive bone resorption can lead to decreased bone density and strength, increasing the risk of fractures.

What happens when bone deposition exceeds resorption?

Bone mass increases, leading to stronger bones, which is common during growth or in response to increased physical activity.

How can one prevent excessive bone resorption?

Preventive measures include regular weight-bearing exercise, adequate calcium and vitamin D intake, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

What happens when bone resorption exceeds deposition?

It can lead to bone loss, decreased density, and increased fracture risk, as seen in conditions like osteoporosis.

Can medications affect bone deposition and resorption?

Yes, medications like bisphosphonates and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) can influence these processes to treat or prevent osteoporosis.

Can bone deposition and resorption rates change over a lifetime?

Yes, during youth, deposition exceeds resorption for growth and density increase. In older adults, resorption may exceed deposition, leading to bone loss.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Co-written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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