Research Blog & News
Strong bones and less fat – Scientists from Dresden and Leipzig identify novel molecular switch of bone and energy metabolism
The formation of bone and fat is very much interdependent as both tissues originate from the same type of progenitor cells: mesenchymal stem cells. These either evolve into osteoblast, cells that build up bone mass, or into adipocytes, fat cells, respectively. Factors supporting the formation of fat tissue inhibit bone regeneration at the same time and thereby negatively impact bone quality.
A team of scientists from the Universities of Dresden, Leipzig and Ulm has now identified a novel protein controlling this interaction in a study recently published in Science Translational Medicine. CD90/Thy-1, as the protein is named, enhances bone regeneration, while concurrently inhibiting the accumulation of fat tissue. Mice lacking this protein have brittle bone and grow fatter. Furthermore, the scientists showed that both patients with osteoporosis and patients who are overweight exhibit lower serum levels of CD90/Thy-1 than healthy patients. Further investigations will likely reveal, whether this factor can be applied to improve bone quality in patients with overweight in future, or act as a marker for early diagnosis of bone loss.
Further information: Press release
Original publication in Science Translation Medicine: “Thy-1 (CD90) promotes bone formation and protects against obesity“, Doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aao680.
Bone health is a crucial factor to assure quality of life
A novel review of Tilman Rachner describes how adjuvant endocrine therapies of breast and prostate cancer impair bone health to reduce risk of fracture. Preservation of bone health still remains a long-term clinical challenge in patients with breast and prostate cancer. Dr. Rachner emphasizes: “Each patient receiving endocrine therapy should be stringently assessed for their individual fracture risk when therapy is initiated, and this risk should be reassessed in adequate intervals or whenever major changes to disease status or treatment occur.”
Bone health during endocrine therapy for cancer, Tilman D Rachner, Robert Coleman, Peyman Hadji, Lorenz C Hofbauer, 2018
μBONE – Colonization and Interactions of Tumor Cells within the Bone Microenvironment
A Germany-wide consortium of cancer and bone scientists started its work on studying the initial colonization of bone by tumor cells and the early interaction with bone cells. To obtain mechanistic insights into these questions, the consortium focusses on breast and prostate cancer. The µbone research alliance will tackle the knowledge gap on bone metastases and reveal innovative mechanistic concepts of bone-tumor interactions for subsequent studies to prevent or cure bone metastases.
New chair “Molecular Bone Biology” of the Medical Faculty Dresden
Dr. scient. med. Martina Rauner commenced her new position as Professor for Molecular Bone Biology in October 2018. Achieving deeper insights into bone diseases is at the core of her research, which may ultimately lead to the discovery of new ways to treat bone diseases. Focus of her research lies on unraveling interactions of bone with hematopoietic cells including immune cells. Martina Rauner is a trained biotechnologist and due to her broad expertise in bone biology is also the Scientific Director of the Bone lab since 2014. As former chair of the ECTS Academy and New Investigator Committee of the ECTS, her ambition is further to inspire young researchers and to promote their scientific careers and encourage networking and engagement.