Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bone cells' branches sense stimulation, when to make new bone

Date:
July 21, 2010
Source:
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Summary:
Research of bone cells shows, for the first time, the part of the cells that sense mechanical stimulation and signal the release of bone-growth factors.

A long-standing question in bone biology has been answered: It is the spindly extensions of bone cells that sense mechanical stimulation and signal the release of bone-growth factors, according to research from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The study, reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers an important clue for developing therapies to treat the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis and bone loss associated with aging, said Jean Jiang, Ph.D., senior corresponding author from the Department of Biochemistry, UT Health Science Center Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Sensitive extensions

"Osteocytes are the most abundant cells in bone," Dr. Jiang said. "In the field of bone biology, there was a long-standing debate as to which part of the osteocyte senses mechanical loading. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that it is the extensions, which are called dendrites."

Regular physical exercise is highly beneficial in maintaining bone health and in prevention of bone loss and osteoporosis. Mechanical stimulation of the bone through weight bearing is critical for promoting bone remodeling, said Sirisha Burra, Ph.D., lead author from the Department of Biochemistry.

"Maintenance of bone health depends on the osteocytes' ability to sense the stimulation," Dr. Burra said. "If osteocytes lose this ability, it could possibly lead to diseases such as osteoporosis. Hence, it is important to understand this mechanism."

Mechanical impact

The Health Science Center collaborated with Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio to estimate the mechanical impact of force applied to the dendrites. Magnitudes of mechanical stress were determined.

"Understanding how bone cells sense and respond to mechanical signals within the skeleton is an inherently multidisciplinary problem," said co-author Daniel P. Nicolella, Ph.D., institute engineer in the Mechanics and Materials Section at Southwest Research Institute. "We determined the mechanical stresses applied to the osteocytes in these experiments so that they can be compared to the mechanical signals predicted to occur within the skeleton during routine physical activities."

Toll of osteoporosis

Approximately 8 million women and 2 million men have osteoporosis in the U.S. Affected bone becomes brittle and can fracture with minor falls. In severe cases, a bone can even break from a sneeze. Another 34 million Americans are estimated to have low bone mass and are at higher risk for osteoporosis. (Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation)

Bone loss has been observed in astronauts who have spent a long time in space. Greater understanding of the process of bone remodeling could also aid in the discovery of solutions for the degenerative joint disease osteoarthritis.

Intriguing idea

Apart from its clinical implications, the study is intriguing because it "brings in a novel thought that different parts of a single cell can have different material and sensory properties," Dr. Jiang said. "Different parts of the cell can react differently to the same stimulus. This is a very important fact to consider while studying cellular signaling and regulatory mechanisms."

This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and The Welch Foundation. Published online before print July 19, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1009382107


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sirisha Burra, Daniel P. Nicolella, W. Loren Francis, Christopher J. Freitas, Nicholas J. Mueschke, Kristin Poole, and Jean X. Jiang. Dendritic processes of osteocytes are mechanotransducers that induce the opening of hemichannels. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1009382107

Cite This Page:

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Bone cells' branches sense stimulation, when to make new bone." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720123637.htm>.
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. (2010, July 21). Bone cells' branches sense stimulation, when to make new bone. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720123637.htm
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Bone cells' branches sense stimulation, when to make new bone." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720123637.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
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