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:
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
The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona
Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research