Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Skull bone may hold the key to tackling osteoporosis

Date:
December 20, 2009
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
Scientists have uncovered fundamental differences between the bone which makes up the skull and the bones in our limbs, which they believe could hold the key to tackling bone weakness and fractures.

Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London have uncovered fundamental differences between the bone which makes up the skull and the bones in our limbs, which they believe could hold the key to tackling bone weakness and fractures.

It is well know that bones in the arms and legs become weak and vulnerable to breaks when they are not maintained by weight bearing exercise. However skull bone, which bears almost no weight remains particularly resistant to breaking.

The new research published in PLoS ONE offers an explanation for this phenomenon for the first time. The researchers say that their new understanding of the differences between the two types of bone could lead to new ways to treat or prevent osteoporosis.

People who develop osteoporosis have fragile bones which are prone to breaking. The condition becomes more common as we age, especially in post-menopausal women when levels of oestrogen fall dramatically. In the over 50s it affects half of all women and a fifth of all men.

The researchers wanted to understand why the skull bones are resistant to bone thinning as they age, even in post-menopausal women.

To investigate this, they looked in detail at rat bone cells from the skull and compared them with cells from limb bone. They found differences between the appearance of the cells and how they behaved in the lab. They also noticed that treating the cells with oestrogen had a far greater effect on the cells from the limb bone.

Because the differences are so profound, the researchers believe that they are set very early on in life -- probably when the bones are still forming in the womb.

The researchers also made a detailed genetic study of the two types of bone cell. They looked at which genes were active in the two types of cell and found a startling level of difference between the two. The found a total of 1236 -- around four per cent of the genome -- were showing different levels of activity in the two types of bone cell.

Among these they found a number of genes which are known to be involved in the process of forming healthy bones.

Lead author, Dr Simon Rawlinson, Lecturer in Oral Biology at Queen Mary, University of London, explained: "This research is exciting because it tells us why our skulls remain so tough as we age compared to the bones in our arms and legs.

"Now we understand this phenomenon better, we also understand osteoporosis better. And this has opened up many new lines of research into how the disease could be treated or even prevented."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Simon C. F. Rawlinson, Ian J. McKay, Mandeep Ghuman, Claudia Wellmann, Paul Ryan, Saengsome Prajaneh, Gul Zaman, Francis J. Hughes, Virginia J. Kingsmill. Adult Rat Bones Maintain Distinct Regionalized Expression of Markers Associated with Their Development. PLoS ONE, 2009; 4 (12): e8358 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008358

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "Skull bone may hold the key to tackling osteoporosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091219073009.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2009, December 20). Skull bone may hold the key to tackling osteoporosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091219073009.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Skull bone may hold the key to tackling osteoporosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091219073009.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins