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.

Related Articles


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 December 22, 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 December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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