Researchers find potential osteoporosis treatment

New research published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, suggests a mechanism that may guide development of better strategies for osteoporosis treatment.

Osteoporosis is often treated with drugs that inhibit bone resorption, such as alendronate, or drugs that stimulate bone formation, such as parathyroid hormone (PTH).

"In clinical trials where PTH and alendronate were administered concurrently, the bone building effects of PTH were impaired," wrote senior study author Dr Xu Cao from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Maryland. "This suggests that bone resorption is necessary for PTH-induced bone formation, but the underlying mechanisms are obscure."

He added that an improved understanding of the role that bone resorption plays in PTH-induced bone formation would help in the development of strategies that use PTH and antiresorptive drugs to treat osteoporosis.

The researchers identified a subset of skeletal stem cells that were recruited to bone remodeling sites in response to bone resorption. They demonstrated that TGF-1 - a growth factor - is essential for recruitment of skeletal stem cells during PTH-stimulated bone remodeling.

Cao concluded that the use of PTH before treatment by an antiresorptive drug like alendronate could be an effective therapy.
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