Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Novel form of vitamin D shown to grow bone


A novel form of vitamin D has been shown to grow bone in the lab and in experimental animals, a result that holds promise for the estimated 44 million Americans, mostly post-menopausal women, who suffer from or are at risk for the bone-wasting disease osteoporosis.

The research, conducted by a team of scientists led by biochemist Hector F. DeLuca at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was reported this week (Sept. 30) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a leading scientific journal.

"We’ve got a compound that is very selective for bone," says DeLuca. "It is very effective in animals," increasing bone density significantly in rats with a condition that mimics human osteoporosis, and can be used in the lab to grow bone in culture.

The research, conducted by DeLuca, Nirupama K. Shevde, Lori A. Plum, Margaret Claggett-Dame, Hironori Yamamoto and J. Wesley Pike, describes the effects of a potent Vitamin D analog known in scientific shorthand as 2MD. Its synthesis by the Wisconsin group, and studies of its effects in the lab and in animals, suggests the potential for developing a class of drugs that could effectively reverse bone loss in humans suffering from osteoporosis, a disease characterized by diminished bone density and, ultimately, brittle, fracture-prone bones.

"From where I sit, this is the most promising vitamin D compound I’ve seen," says DeLuca, an international authority on vitamin D and its chemistry.

But he stressed that while the new compound posts astonishing results when used in experimental animals, it has yet to be tested in humans and it will likely be several years at best before a drug reaches the market.

"There’s nothing like it on the market now. We think it could become a major actor, but we haven’t done any experiments in people," he says.

The compound could become an important alternative to hormone replacement therapy, one of whose benefits was prevention of bone loss in post-menopausal women. Because of new evidence of an increased risk of cancer, hormone replacement therapy has recently been called into question.

The vitamin D analog developed by the Wisconsin team was tested in rats that had their ovaries removed to mimic menopause and the bone wasting associated with osteoporosis. Rats given the new vitamin D analog exhibited a 9 percent increase in total body bone mass. Importantly, vertebrae in the treated rats exhibited a 25 percent increase in bone mass. Frequently, osteoporosis patients exhibit a stooped posture as the bones in the spinal column tend to be among the most affected by osteoporosis.

The compound also added bone mass to the long bones in the limbs of animals used in the study.

According to DeLuca, the 2MD compound is also the first vitamin D analog shown to increase bone mass, and that exhibits no apparent toxicity or side effects.

2MD acts at very low concentrations and appears to work by promoting the growth of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for making bone. Another form of vitamin D is now used to treat osteoporosis, but its bone-building action is limited.

"Our results suggest that 2MD exhibits at very low concentrations a marked and unexpected activity in stimulating the synthesis of new bone," the Wisconsin team wrote in their PNAS report. "This activity is at best only weakly observed with (the other active form of vitamin D) and then only at very high concentrations."

It is possible, the authors suggest, that 2MD possesses a "unique capacity to induce genes capable of orchestrating the process leading to the formation of bone nodules."

Terry Devitt (608) 262-8282,;
Emily Carlson (608) 262-9772, emilycarlson@facstaff

Hector F. DeLuca | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>