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Protein Could Be Key For Drugs That Promote Bone Growth

Posted Oct 15 2012 9:33pm

Georgia Health Sciences University researchers have developed a mouse that errs on the side of making bone rather than fat, which could eventually lead to better drugs to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Drugs commonly used to treat those types of conditions – called glucocorticoids – work by turning down the body’s anti-inflammatory response, but simultaneously turn on other pathways that lead to bone loss. The result can lead to osteoporosis and an accumulation of marrow fat, says Dr. Xingming Shi, bone biologist at the GHSU Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics.

The key to the body developing bone instead of fat, a small protein called GILZ, was shown in cell cultures in 2008. Now, with work by GHSU Graduate Student Guodong Pan, the work has been replicated in an animal model. Pan received the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research’s Young Investigator Award for his work at the society’s annual meeting Oct. 12-15 in Minneapolis.

 

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