New study of bone structure raises questions for osteoporosis treatment

November 14th, 2007 - 2:23 am ICT by admin  
Dr David Reid of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, who played a significant part in the research, says that the new findings may have sweeping impacts on treatments for osteoporosis and other bone disorders.

He revealed that the study has shown that the characteristic toughness and stiffness of bone is predominantly due to the presence of specialized sugars, not proteins, as was earlier thought.

During the study, the researchers studied mineralization in horse bones using an analysis tool called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).

They observed that sugars, particularly proteoglycans (PGs) and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), appeared to play a role which is as important as proteins in controlling bone mineralization, the process by which newly-formed bone is hardened with minerals such as calcium phosphate.

“We believe our findings will alter some fundamental preconceptions of bone biology. On a practical level they unveil novel targets for drug discovery for bone and joint diseases, new biomarkers for diagnosis, and new strategies for developing synthetic materials that could be used in orthopaedics,” Dr. Reid said.

“They may also strengthen the rationale for the current popularity of over-the-counter joint and bone pain remedies such as glucosamine and chondroitin, which are based on GAG sugar molecules,” he added. (ANI)

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