Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protein identified that can result in fragile bones

28.07.2010
Too little of a protein called neogenin results in a smaller skeleton during development and sets the stage for a more fragile bone framework lifelong, Medical College of Georgia researchers report.

A developing mouse with neogenin deficits has poorly defined digits and is generally smaller, including having small growth plates, an indicator of future development, said Dr. Wen-Cheng Xiong, developmental neurobiologist in the MCG Schools of Medicine and Graduate Studies and corresponding author of the study published in Developmental Cell. Dr. Zheng Zhou, MCG assistant research scientist, is first author.

Their findings provide new insight into skeletal development as they point toward a potential new direction for treating osteoarthritis, a common, painful and debilitating condition where cartilage between bones is lost, Xiong said.

Neogenin doesn't make bone; rather, it forms a protein complex essential to turning on cartilage-producing genes, the researchers found. "Each cell type has a master gene. Neogenin is not that, it's more of a modulator," Xiong said. That's why, if it's mutated, like in the mouse, cartilage and bone formation is disrupted – not halted. It's also why neogenin could be a good therapeutic target for turning the tide on cartilage or bone loss that occurs in osteoarthritis, Xiong said.

Skeletal development occurs early, which is why pregnant women need so much calcium. Initially the skeleton consists of soft bone or cartilage, which attracts blood vessels as well as the osteoblasts that replace most cartilage with hard bone over time. After birth, growth plates, where hard and soft bone meet, enable bones to lengthen and children to grow. After puberty, growth plates go away and bone hardens except for cartilage at the joints that eases movement and provides cushion. While bone cells continue to turn over, bone growth and loss should balance each other out after puberty due to osteoclasts – cells that break down and resorb bone. Diseases such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis occur when osteoclasts start winning. Nutrition, inflammation and hormones are among the many factors that impact bone's status.

Neogenin, which Xiong has shown helps direct neurons during brain development and aid in regulation of iron levels, is found throughout bone and cartilage and numerous other tissues. Its pervasiveness reflects its many functions, depending on the stage of life and location, she noted.

Xiong suspects the protein has multiple roles in adulthood as well, albeit slightly different ones. In adulthood, neogenin may become more of an overseer, keeping tabs on functions it influences, such as bone formation. It resumes an instigator role when something goes amiss.

"Every function in the body needs to be able to go up or down," Xiong said, noting that neogenin pathways are likely altered in disease. "I think in the disease condition this molecule could be changed. The pathways are altered, not eliminated, rather increased or decreased abnormally."

Treating problems such as osteoporosis, iron overload and anemia, would require drugs that could keep protein levels high. Meanwhile, she wants to confirm neogenin's influence on cartilage function in adulthood. "In late-stage arthritis, the cartilage function may be completely disrupted but early in the disease process, maybe there is a window for stimulating this protein."

The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is also featured in a preview in Developmental Cell titled, "A Skeleton in the Closet: Neogenin Guides Bone Development."

Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcg.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells
22.08.2017 | National University Health System

nachricht Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
22.08.2017 | Umea University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>