New gene could trigger osteoporosis

October 5th, 2011 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Oct 5 (IANS) A new gene could increase chances of developing osteoporosis, a “silent” disease characterised by increased bone fragility and risk of fracture.

Eighty percent of hip fractures are related to osteoporosis, resulting in death in up to 20 percent of cases, and disability in 50 percent of the survivors.

A research team from the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal (IRCM) isolated a gene that regulates bone mass and could bring on osteoporosis, the journal Cell Metabolism reports.

They found, in mice, that a loss of this gene’s function significantly boosts the number of osteoclasts, cells which break down bone, thereby leading to osteoporosis, according to an IRCM statement.

“The overall objective of our research is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that determine the balance between bone formation and resorption (breakdown),” explained Jean Vacher who led the study.

“Osteoblasts (bone cells) are responsible for making bones and work in synergy with osteoclasts (which break down bones),” said Vacher, director at IRCM.

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