Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have identified a new approach to treating brittle bone disease, a congenital disorder that results in fragile bones that break easily.
The study, published in the current issue of the journal Nature Medicine, showed that excessive activity of an important signaling protein in the matrix of the bone called transforming growth factor beta is associated with the cause of the disease.
"There are many genetic causes of brittle bone disease in children and adults," said Dr. Brendan Lee, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. "We have discovered many of them but clinicians still cannot easily distinguish the different forms."
Lee said the new study suggested that there may be common mechanisms that cause the decreased quality and quantity of bone in these different forms.
"This identified an important concept in bone disease that while many different genetic mutations can affect the proteins in the bone matrix (like collagen) they act in a common pathway to cause the bone disease – that is they affect how signaling proteins called transforming growth factor beta (TGF) are delivered to cells in the bone," said Lee. "We now have a deeper understanding for how genetic mutations that affect collagen and collagen processing enzymes cause weak bones."
Collagen is the most common protein in the human body, and the four most common types are found in different types of tissues including bone, cartilage, blood vessels, and kidney.
In animal studies, Lee and his colleagues showed that blockade of the TGF proteins using an antibody could restore the quantity of bone in mice with different forms of brittle bone disease.
"This treatment appears even more effective than other existing approaches," said Lee.
There are currently drugs in development to block this pathway in humans, so eventually the work can be translated into human studies, he said.
Existing approaches revolve around symptom management such as prevention of bone fractures, physical therapy and bone strengthening drugs, not necessarily medications to target the underlying cause of the disease, he said.
The study is novel because it shows a personalized approach to more effective treatment patients with these forms of brittle bone disease.
"We hope this approach will also be useful in more common forms of osteoporosis," said Lee.
Lee is also co-director of the Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Bone Disease Program of Texas, a collaboration of Baylor, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Foundation and the Center for Skeletal Medicine and Biology at Baylor, a member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine and founder and director of the Skeletal Dysplasia Clinic at Texas Children's Hospital.
Co-authors on the report include Ingo Grafe, Tao Yang, Stefanie Alexander, Erica Homan, Caressa Lietman, Ming Ming Jiang, Terry Bertin, Elda Munivez, Yuqing Chen, Brian Dawson, all of Baylor; Yoshihiro Ishikawa and Hans Peter Bächinger of Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Mary Ann Weis and David Eyre of the University of Washington in Seattle; T Kuber Sampath of the Genzyme Research Center in Massachusetts and Catherine Ambrose of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Funding for this work was provided by the German Research Foundation/Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation, Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the National Institutes of Health.
Glenna Picton | Eurek Alert!
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses