Potential Target for Osteoporosis Treatments Discovered

Physical actions that exert mechanical stress on the bones stimulate new bone development. Osteocytes, which make up 90-95% of all bone cells, assist detect mechanical stress on the bone. They then regulate the breakdown of weakened bone by cells referred to as osteoclasts and the build-up of recent bone by cells referred to as osteoblasts.

“Previous research has shown that mechanical stress on bones increases the number of channels on the surface of osteocytes, called connexin (Cx) 43 hemichannels,” explains first writer Dezhi Zhao, a visiting PhD scholar on the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas, US. “In this study, we wanted to examine the role that these channels play in responding to mechanical stress on bones.”

To do that, Zhao and the staff studied two varieties of mouse fashions. In one, the connections between the bone cells, referred to as hole junctions, have been impaired however Cx43 hemichannels have been strengthened. In the opposite, each hole junctions and Cx43 hemichannels have been impaired. The staff then examined what occurred to the bone of those mice, in addition to typical mice, when uncovered to mechanical stress.

They discovered {that a} chemical referred to as prostaglandin (PGE2) was produced in each the standard mice and the hole junction-impaired mice in response to mechanical stress, and their bones grew to become stronger. On the opposite hand, this response was missing within the Cx43 hemichannel-impaired mice.

To verify that Cx43 hemichannels are important to bone strengthening, the staff then gave typical mice an antibody that blocks Cx43 hemichannel exercise. They discovered that this additionally stopped the animals from releasing PGE2 and diminished bone strengthening in response to mechanical stress. But treating the identical mice with PGE2 restored the bone-strengthening results of mechanical stress.

Existing therapies for osteoporosis typically goal osteoclasts that break down weakened bone and work by lowering bone turnover. This can inadvertently result in extra brittle bones over time and has been related to some uncommon however critical unwanted side effects. The present examine means that concentrating on Cx43 hemichannels on osteocytes may be an alternate remedy possibility that makes use of the physique’s personal response to mechanical stress.

“Our work highlights Cx43 hemichannels as a potential new target for medications to treat osteoporosis and other conditions that cause bone loss,” concludes senior writer Jean Jiang, Professor and Zachry Distinguished University Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. “Further studies are needed to verify these findings and explore the potential of drugs that target these channels. If they are one day proven to be safe and effective, such treatments could be particularly helpful for older patients who are less responsive to the bone-strengthening effects of movement.”

Source: Eurekalert

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