Nine genes found to affect bone density
Sydney: Scientists have identified nine genes that seem to weaken or strength bone, which could pave the way to more effective treatment for osteoporosis, affecting millions worldwide.
Out of 100 `knockout mice,` which have a gene disabled, scientists identified these genes that appear to weaken or strengthen bone. Osteoporosis is a disease that leads to an increased risk of fracture.
Peter Croucher, professor from Sydney`s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, with Duncan Bassett and Graham Williams, professor from Imperial College London, and colleagues at the Sanger Institute, used micro-CT and digital x-ray microradiography to measure whether or not each of the first 100 genes impacted upon bone.
"We wanted to see what screening the first 100 knockout mice off the pipeline would tell us about the impact of these genes on bone, and whether or not our approach was an effective one," Croucher was quoted as saying in the journal Public Library of Science Genetics.
"The approach was successful in that we identified nine genes that had not previously been described - each of which appeared to be important in regulating our skeleton. This suggests that roughly 8-10 percent of all genes may be involved in some way," said Croucher, according to a institute statement.
"At the moment, we`re trying to understand the potential role of the nine genes we`ve just identified. Our results suggest that if you were to block some of them, it would result in higher bone mass and stronger bones. We`ll be making antibodies to those genes to test our results," he added.