Fragile Bones May Be Caused by Newly Identified Protein
A new study from researchers at the Medical College of Georgia may have found the cause for fragile bones. It all boils down to a protein called neogenin if you dont have enough of it, it can lead to debilitating bone conditions like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.
Neogenin is not a protein that actually forms bone, but a modulator that turns on cartilage and bone-producing genes. The researchers found that when neogenin is mutated, cartilage and bone formation are disrupted.
"Every function in the body needs to be able to go up or down, said Dr. Wen-Cheng Xiong, developmental neurobiologist in the MCG Schools of Medicine and Graduate Studies and corresponding author of the study published in Developmental Cell. "I think in the disease condition this molecule could be changed. The pathways are altered, not eliminated, rather increased or decreased abnormally."
ScienceDaily explained the significance of neogenin:
Neogenin, which Xiong has shown helps direct neurons during brain development and aid in regulation of iron levels, is found throughout bone and cartilage and numerous other tissues. Its pervasiveness reflects its many functions, depending on the stage of life and location, she noted.
They further describe neogenin's role in our bodies as adults: