Natural occurring protein leaves clues for osteoporosis

Feb 16, 2011 By Victoria Hollick

A naturally occurring protein may hold the key to treatments for osteoporosis, University of Sydney researchers have reported in this month's Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

The announcement follows more than a decade of research into interferon gamma, a protein which is produced by the body's immune system and and that is also used as a treatment for in humans.

A team of scientists, led by Associate Professor Gustavo Duque, worked with menopausal mice, injecting low doses of interferon gamma in the small mammals. Tests revealed the mice had increased bone mass and decreased bone damage resulting from menopause-associated .

Associate Professor Duque says: "This is a major step in the development of a completely new type of medication for osteoporosis, which stimulates bone formation instead of stopping bone destruction.

"We are targeting the real problem by stimulating the bone forming cells to work and produce more bone which increases and hopefully preventing new fractures. With ageing, there is a reduction in that predisposes people to this painful condition," he said.

Osteoporosis affects an estimated 300 million people worldwide. One in three women over the aged of 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will one in five men of a similar age.

Experts predict, despite the current treatments available, by 2050, the worldwide incidence of in men is likely to increase by 310 percent and 240 percent in women.

"This increase is explained by the low rate of diagnosis and treatment for osteoporosis and also to some concerns about the potential side effects of the current treatments and to the similarities between the majority of the osteoporosis medications in terms of their anti-fracture effect and mechanism of action," Associate Professor Duque said.

"The Aging Bone Research Program is dedicated to understand and explaining the process of osteoporosis in older people and to developing comprehensive prevention strategies for falls and fractures in the elderly."

Explore further: Wearable artificial kidney safety testing receives go-ahead

Provided by University of Sydney

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers pinpoint osteoporosis genes

May 03, 2010

A team of international researchers has identified 20 genes associated with osteoporosis and bone weakness, including 13 genes never previously associated with the disease. Osteoporosis is a highly heritable trait, but this ...

Stem cells could halt osteoporosis, promote bone growth

Mar 04, 2009

While interferon gamma sounds like an outer space weapon, it's actually a hormone produced by our own bodies, and it holds great promise to repair bones affected by osteoporosis. In a new study published in the journal Stem Ce ...

Recommended for you

A novel therapy for sepsis?

16 hours ago

A University of Tokyo research group has discovered that pentatraxin 3 (PTX3), a protein that helps the innate immune system target invaders such as bacteria and viruses, can reduce mortality of mice suffering ...

Cellular protein may be key to longevity

Sep 15, 2014

Researchers have found that levels of a regulatory protein called ATF4, and the corresponding levels of the molecules whose expression it controls, are elevated in the livers of mice exposed to multiple interventions ...

User comments : 0