Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MDC Researchers Unravel Key Mechanism in Pathogenesis of Osteoporosis

15.05.2009
Osteoporosis, or bone loss, is a disease that is most common in the elderly population, affecting women more often than men. Until now, it was not clear exactly how the disease develops.

Researchers of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, Germany, have now elucidated a molecular mechanism which regulates the equilibrium between bone formation and bone resorption.

Dr. Jeske J. Smink, Dr. Valérie Bégay, and Professor Achim Leutz were able to show that two different forms of a gene switch - a short isoform and a long isoform - determine this process. The MDC researchers hope these findings will lead to new therapies for this bone disease. (EMBO Journal)*.

In osteoporosis, excessive bone resorption occurs. The bones lose their density and are therefore prone to breakage. Even minor falls can lead to serious bone fractures. The interplay between two cell types determines bone density: bone forming cells (osteoblasts) and bone resorbing cells (osteoclasts). The equilibrium between these two cell types is strictly regulated to prevent the formation of either too much or too little bone.

LAP and LIP maintain the balance
Dr. Smink, Dr. Bégay, and Professor Leutz have now elucidated a complicated mechanism which maintains the equilibrium between bone formation and bone resorption. Here, the gene switch C/EBPbeta plays a major role. It exists in different forms, differing in length and number of building blocks. LAP is the term researchers use to denote the full-length isoform of C/EBPbeta, and LIP is the term for the short isoform.

LAP activates another gene switch (MafB) which suppresses the formation of bone resorbing osteoclasts. In contrast, LIP, suppresses this gene switch and thus enhances the proliferation and activity of the osteoclasts. As a result, the osteoclasts resorb more bone substance than is built by the osteoblasts. The researchers suspect that imbalance in the ratio between LAP and LIP plays a role in osteoporosis.

The activity of a signaling molecule - mTOR - determines which of the two isoforms LAP and LIP is formed. The abbreviation mTOR stands for mammalian Target of Rapamycin. The drug rapamycin inhibits mTOR and thus suppresses the formation of bone resorbing osteoclasts. Unfortunately, rapamycin has severe side-effects on the immune system. "In the future, it may be possible to develop new drugs that regulate the activity of mTOR and, thus, remedy the disturbance in osteoclast function," Professor Leutz said.

*Transcription factor C/EBPbeta isoform ratio regulates osteoclastogenesis through MafB

Jeske J. Smink1,4, Valérie Bégay1,4, Ton Schoenmaker2, Esta Sterneck3, Teun J. de Vries2, and Achim Leutz1

1 Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany.
2 Departments of Periodontology and Oral Cell Biology, Academic Centre of Dentistry Amsterdam, Universiteit van Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3 National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD 21702, U.S.A.

4 these authors contributed equally to this work

Barbara Bachtler
Press and Public Affairs
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch
Robert-Rössle-Straße 10
13125 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 30 94 06 - 38 96
Fax: +49 (0) 30 94 06 - 38 33
e-mail: presse@mdc-berlin.de

Barbara Bachtler | Max-Delbrück-Centrum
Further information:
http://www.mdc-berlin.de/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>