It is the first time an autoimmune response – a condition whereby the body can attack itself – has been shown to cause damage to bones directly.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh studied a protein called osteoprotegerin (OPG) in people with coeliac disease – a digestive condition that affects 1 in 100 people.
In healthy people, OPG plays a crucial role in maintaining bone health by controlling the rate at which bone tissue is removed.
The latest research shows that 20 per cent of coeliac patients produce antibodies that attack the OPG protein and stop it working properly. This results in rapid bone destruction and severe osteoporosis.
It was previously thought that osteoporosis – a known complication of coeliac disease –develops in coeliac patients because they cannot properly absorb calcium and vitamin D from their diet. Both nutrients are essential for healthy bone development.
The team found that although this new form of osteoporosis did not respond to calcium and vitamin D supplements, it can be easily treated with drugs that prevent bone loss.
The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Professor Stuart Ralston, of the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, who led the team, said: "This is a very exciting step forward. Not only have we discovered a new reason to explain why osteoporosis occurs in coeliac disease, but we have also found that it responds very well to drugs that prevent bone tissue removal. Testing for these antibodies could make a real and important difference to the lives of people with coeliac disease by alerting us to the risk of osteoporosis and helping us find the correct treatment for them."
Anna Borthwick | EurekAlert!
New way to target advanced breast cancers
24.09.2018 | Jackson Laboratory
Neutrons produce first direct 3D maps of water during cell membrane fusion
21.09.2018 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
21.09.2018 | Event News
03.09.2018 | Event News
27.08.2018 | Event News
24.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
24.09.2018 | Earth Sciences
24.09.2018 | Health and Medicine