Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Little Magic Provides an Atomic-level Look at Bone

04.12.2009
A new study using solid-state NMR spectroscopy to analyze intact bone paves the way for atomic-level explorations of how disease and aging affect bone.

The research by scientists at the University of Michigan is reported in the Dec. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

"If people think of bone at all---and they usually don't, until they have a fracture---they think of it as an inert material," said Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, professor of chemistry and of biophysics. "But like everything else, bone is also made up of molecules whose behavior is reflected in its structure, toughness and mechanical strength, making bone really exciting in terms of its chemistry and its contribution to health and well-being,"

As scientists strive to understand the human body and its diseases in terms of molecular behavior, bone presents a challenge to most analytical techniques. "However, solid-state NMR spectroscopy is an ideal tool for exploring what goes on inside bone at nanoscopic resolution," Ramamoorthy said. "It is possible to probe the structure and dynamics of individual molecules that constitute bone without any physical damage or chemical modification."

But while solid-state NMR spectroscopy is capable of revealing complete nanoscopic details of molecular events from most samples, it often provides so many details that they're difficult to tease apart and analyze. Ramamoorthy, whose children are fans of the Magic School Bus science series, challenged his lab group to find ways of "driving around" to explore the interior of bone, just as characters on the series might in their imaginary world. The researchers' real-world approach involved a different kind of magic.

Ramamoorthy and colleagues used a variation of solid-state NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy called magic-angle spinning, a non-invasive technique that makes solid material as amenable to analysis as solutions are. Previous NMR studies have used pulverized bone, but the U-M group's instruments and methods made it possible to analyze a sample of intact cow bone. The bone sample was shaped to just fit the rotor that is spun at the so-called magic angle inside the probe of a solid-state NMR spectrometer.

With this technique, the researchers examined changes that occur in bone with water loss. The water content of bone tissue decreases with age, which---by affecting both collagen and minerals---reduces bone's strength and toughness.

"We were able to see dynamical structural changes with the main protein, collagen," Ramamoorthy said. "Its characteristic triple helix structure was not completely damaged, but its mobility was altered, in addition to a disorder in the structure."

The success of the study makes possible future research into how bone's constituents behave under different conditions.

"We'd like to look at how bone changes at the atomic level, as a function of aging," Ramamoorthy said, "and to make comparisons between diseased and healthy bone." Such studies may provide insights into the susceptibility of bone to fracture, especially in the osteoporotic tissues of many elderly people.

Ramamoorthy's coauthors on the paper are postdoctoral fellows Peizhi Zhu and Jiadi Xu, graduate student Nadder Sahar, chemistry professor Michael Morris and David Kohn, professor of biomedical engineering and of dentistry.

Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense.

For more information:
Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy: www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/public/experts/ExpDisplay.php?beginswith=Ramamoorthy

Michael Morris: www.chem.lsa.umich.edu/chem/faculty/facultyDetail.php?Uniqname=mdmorris

David Kohn: www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/public/experts/ExpDisplay.php?ExpID=434

Journal of the American Chemical Society: http://pubs.acs.org/journal/jacsat

Nancy Ross-Flanigan | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>