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PLoS Comput Biol. 2010 Sep 9;6(9). pii: e1000924. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000924.

Rescuing loading induced bone formation at senescence.

Author information

  • 1Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America. sundars@u.washington.edu

Abstract

The increasing incidence of osteoporosis worldwide requires anabolic treatments that are safe, effective, and, critically, inexpensive given the prevailing overburdened health care systems. While vigorous skeletal loading is anabolic and holds promise, deficits in mechanotransduction accrued with age markedly diminish the efficacy of readily complied, exercise-based strategies to combat osteoporosis in the elderly. Our approach to explore and counteract these age-related deficits was guided by cellular signaling patterns across hierarchical scales and by the insight that cell responses initiated during transient, rare events hold potential to exert high-fidelity control over temporally and spatially distant tissue adaptation. Here, we present an agent-based model of real-time Ca(2+)/NFAT signaling amongst bone cells that fully described periosteal bone formation induced by a wide variety of loading stimuli in young and aged animals. The model predicted age-related pathway alterations underlying the diminished bone formation at senescence, and hence identified critical deficits that were promising targets for therapy. Based upon model predictions, we implemented an in vivo intervention and show for the first time that supplementing mechanical stimuli with low-dose Cyclosporin A can completely rescue loading induced bone formation in the senescent skeleton. These pre-clinical data provide the rationale to consider this approved pharmaceutical alongside mild physical exercise as an inexpensive, yet potent therapy to augment bone mass in the elderly. Our analyses suggested that real-time cellular signaling strongly influences downstream bone adaptation to mechanical stimuli, and quantification of these otherwise inaccessible, transient events in silico yielded a novel intervention with clinical potential.

PMID:
20838577
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2936512
Free PMC Article
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