A study led by Shuying (Sheri) Yang, associate professor in the Department of Basic & Translational Sciences in the School of Dental Medicine, identified a new role for a protein that keeps osteoclasts (the cells that break down bone) in check, which may guide the development of new therapies to counter bone loss.
The research identifies the protein IFT80 as a key player in regulating populations of osteoclasts. Yang and her team found that mice lacking IFT80 grew larger-than-expected populations of osteoclasts, and subsequently developed severe osteopenia, a loss of bone mineral density. They discovered that IFT80 inhibits osteoclast maturation and in turn, can potentially shape therapeutic intervention for patients suffering from bone loss.
“With so many diseases related to excess bone loss—osteoporosis, periodontitis, rheumatoid arthritis, even fractures—there is a big need to find ways to address bone loss and restore balance in bone remodeling,” said Yang.
Read about the study in more detail in Penn Today.