Scientists find way to boost bone-forming cells, raising osteoporosis prospects

6/29/2015

Scientists find way to boost bone-forming cells, raising osteoporosis prospects

The researchers are from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute, and they publish their work in the journal Nature Communications. The study investigated a protein known as PPARG and examined its effect on bone marrow stem cells (mesenchymal stem cells). Already knowing that a partial loss of PPARG in a genetically modified mouse model led to an increase in osteogenesis, they did more work using the approaches of structural biology. The scientists wanted to mimic the effect on PPARG to increase bone formation by use of a drug candidate - they rationally designed a new compound that would repress the protein. In the experiment, when human mesenchymal stem cells were treated with the new compound, labeled SR2595, there was a statistically significant increase in osteoblasts, the cells responsible for forming bone. Patrick Griffin, PhD, chair of the department of molecular therapeutics and director of the Translational Research Institute at Scripps Florida, says this protein had already been targeted pharmaceutically: "These findings demonstrate for the first time a new therapeutic application for drugs targeting PPARG, which has been the focus of efforts to develop insulin sensitizers to treat type 2 diabetes."