Preventing Bone Fractures in Diabetes Patients

Researchers have uncovered a therapy target for the prevention of bone fractures in people with type 2 diabetes.

The study showed that mice with type 2 diabetes have an overabundance of a metabolite called succinate in their bone marrow. In comparison, succinate was hardly measurable in non-diabetes mice. Succinate, with its G-protein receptor, stimulates the production of osteoclasts, cells involved in the break down of bone tissue.

The investigators examined the bone marrow of the mice using advanced imaging and computational methods. They discovered succinate was the first step in a biochemical chain of events, and because the mice with diabetes had an overabundance of succinate, it overwhelmed the entire chain of biochemical processes. Further, the researchers found that hyperglycemic mice had significantly lower spongy bone mass (trabecular bone), making them susceptible to fracture.

“The bottom line is that the high level of succinate, combined with the finding of more fragile bone, points to a new target to protect bone,” said researcher Yuqi Guo, MD, associate research scientist at NYU Dentistry.

This research is significant for people with diabetes since they have a greater bone fracture risk, and their healing process is delayed. It paves the way for developing drug therapies that regulate succinate to protect patients’ bones.

“In our study, the hyperglycemic mice had increased bone resorption [the breakdown and absorption of old bone], which outpaced the formation of new bone,” said senior investigator Xin Li, PhD, associate professor at NYU Dentistry. “This has implications for bone protection, as well as for the treatment of diabetes-associated collateral bone damage.”

Findings from this study were published in Nature Communications.

Source: NYU
Photo credit: Red Eytan

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