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Lithium And Bone Healing

Date:
August 1, 2007
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
New molecular pathway shown in bone healing that could be enhanced by lithium treatment.

Researchers have described a novel molecular pathway that may have a critical role in bone healing and have suggested that lithium, which affects this pathway, has the potential to improve fracture healing.

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The study, led by Benjamin Alman from the Hospital For Sick Children, Toronto, investigated the role of the -catenin signaling pathway, which activates T cell factor -dependent gene transcription, and which is known to have a key regulatory role in embryonic skeletal development.

By studying mice with fractures the researchers were able to show that -catenin-mediated gene transcription was activated in both bone and cartilage formation during fracture repair. In mice that lacked -catenin fracture healing was inhibited, whereas in mice expressing an activated form of -catenin bone healing was accelerated.

Treating mice with lithium activated -catenin in the healing fracture, but healing was enhanced only when treatment was given after the fracture occurred, rather than before.

These results show that that -catenin functions differently at different stages of fracture repair. Although the relevance of this study to human fractures remains to be determined, activation of -catenin by lithium treatment has the potential to improve fracture healing, but probably only when given in later phases of fracture healing.

Citation: Chen Y, Whetstone HC, Lin AC, Nadesan P, Wei Q, et al. (2007) Beta-catenin signaling plays a disparate role in different phases of fracture repair: Implications for therapy to improve bone healing. PLoS Med 4(7): e249. http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040249


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The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Public Library of Science. "Lithium And Bone Healing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730092341.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2007, August 1). Lithium And Bone Healing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730092341.htm
Public Library of Science. "Lithium And Bone Healing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730092341.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

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