Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Notch controls bone formation and strength

26.02.2008
Notch, a protein known to govern the determination of cell differentiation into different kinds of tissues in embryos, plays a critical role in bone formation and strength later in life, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in a report that appears online today in the journal Nature Medicine. Their findings may provide a basis for understanding osteoporosis and in diseases in which there is too much bone.

“We knew that Notch is important in patterning the skeleton,” said Dr. Brendan Lee, professor of molecular and human genetics and pediatrics at BCM and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “After this initial patterning of the skeleton, we saw a dimorphic or two-pronged function for Notch. If there was an increase of Notch activity in bone cells, we get a lot more bone. Notch stimulates early proliferation of osteoblastic cells (cells responsible for bone formation). However, when they ‘knocked out’ the Notch function in such cells in the laboratory, they found osteoporosis or the loss of bone, similar to age-related osteoporosis in humans.”

“Mice had an acceptable amount of bone at birth, but as they got older, they lost more and more bone,” said Lee, senior author of the report. “Loss of Notch signaling might relate to what happens when we get older.”

They found that the osteoblasts, which promote bone formation, worked fine when they abolished Notch function in bone forming cells. However, the animals lacked the ability to regulate activity of osteoclasts, whose primary function is to resorb or remove bone. Many women who have osteoporosis actually have a similar problem, an imbalance of bone formation vs. bone resorption. They make enough bone but they resorb bone cells at an abnormally high rate.

... more about:
»Notch »formation »osteoporosis »skeleton

In the laboratory, Lee and his colleagues found that when animals were bred to lack Notch, they lost also the ability to suppress bone resorption. That balance between bone formation and resorption allows organisms to maintain a healthy skeleton.

Future studies may look at the possiblity that loss of Notch interferes with the natural signal between osteoblasts and osteoclasts (bone resorbing cells) and prevents the homeostasis or natural balance between the two.

That means the protein Notch and the cellular pathways that express and control it might be targets for drugs to treat bone disorders, said Lee, also a researcher in the Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at BCM.

The work demonstrates the importance of going from patients to the laboratory and back again, he said. This study began with patients who suffer from a problem called spondylocostal dysplasia. These children and adults have problems with the pattern of their spine. They have fusions of parts of the spine or ribs. Several years ago, other scientists showed that a mutation of the pathway for Notch causes some of these problems. “Our care of these patients suggested to us that Notch may have important function even after the establishment of this initial pattern of the skeleton.”

Notch also plays a role in other disorders, including those of the blood and cancer.

“Notch is important in the blood system,” said Lee. “It regulates whether a stem cell becomes a ‘T’ or a ‘B’ cell. When Notch is mutated in the blood system, it causes cancer.”

That knowledge led him and his colleagues to look at the protein in bone.

“This is a complex system and it is why personalized medicine is important,” said Lee. “By identifying all of the major (cellular) pathways that contribute to a specific trait or feature like bone mass in each person, we could one day develop therapies specific for that person.”

Glenna Picton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bcm.edu
http://www.nature.com/nm/index.html

Further reports about: Notch formation osteoporosis skeleton

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Many cooks don't spoil the broth: Manifold symbionts prepare their host for any eventuality
14.10.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Diagnostics for everyone
14.10.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel Material for Shipbuilding

A new research project at the TH Mittelhessen focusses on the development of a novel light weight design concept for leisure boats and yachts. Professor Stephan Marzi from the THM Institute of Mechanics and Materials collaborates with Krake Catamarane, which is a shipyard located in Apolda, Thuringia.

The project is set up in an international cooperation with Professor Anders Biel from Karlstad University in Sweden and the Swedish company Lamera from...

Im Focus: Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal

Superconductivity has fascinated scientists for many years since it offers the potential to revolutionize current technologies. Materials only become superconductors - meaning that electrons can travel in them with no resistance - at very low temperatures. These days, this unique zero resistance superconductivity is commonly found in a number of technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Future technologies, however, will harness the total synchrony of electronic behavior in superconductors - a property called the phase. There is currently a...

Im Focus: How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?

How do some neutron stars become the strongest magnets in the Universe? A German-British team of astrophysicists has found a possible answer to the question of how these so-called magnetars form. Researchers from Heidelberg, Garching, and Oxford used large computer simulations to demonstrate how the merger of two stars creates strong magnetic fields. If such stars explode in supernovae, magnetars could result.

How Do the Strongest Magnets in the Universe Form?

Im Focus: Liquifying a rocky exoplanet

A hot, molten Earth would be around 5% larger than its solid counterpart. This is the result of a study led by researchers at the University of Bern. The difference between molten and solid rocky planets is important for the search of Earth-like worlds beyond our Solar System and the understanding of Earth itself.

Rocky exoplanets that are around Earth-size are comparatively small, which makes them incredibly difficult to detect and characterise using telescopes. What...

Im Focus: Axion particle spotted in solid-state crystal

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Princeton University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have spotted a famously elusive particle: The axion – first predicted 42 years ago as an elementary particle in extensions of the standard model of particle physics.

The team found signatures of axion particles composed of Weyl-type electrons (Weyl fermions) in the correlated Weyl semimetal (TaSe₄)₂I. At room temperature,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Symposium on Functional Materials for Electrolysis, Fuel Cells and Metal-Air Batteries

02.10.2019 | Event News

NEXUS 2020: Relationships Between Architecture and Mathematics

02.10.2019 | Event News

Optical Technologies: International Symposium „Future Optics“ in Hannover

19.09.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

How to control friction in topological insulators

14.10.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

The shelf life of pyrite

14.10.2019 | Earth Sciences

Shipment tracking for "fat parcels" in the body

14.10.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>