Shanghai experts explain the cause of bone degeneration
Local medical experts disclosed the cause of degeneration of bones and provided a target for scientific research.
They found osteocytes, a type of cells that make up bones, regulate the senescence of bones and bone marrow and claimed that bones and bone marrow need young and healthy osteocytes.
A lack of osteocytes can cause cells living in bone system to have catastrophic damage, resulting in shrinking muscles, loss of bone mass and irregular spinal structure.
"The research explains the important role of osteocytes in aging-related bone metabolic diseases and offer a route for osteocyte-targeted therapy," said Dr Zhang Changqing from the Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital, a leading expert in the research.
Osteocytes are the major cellular component of human bones. For an adult, osteocytes account for 90 to 95 percent of bone cells. But the understanding and research on osteocytes only started in recent years, when experts began to realize their important functions.
"It is a potential target for degenerative bone diseases like osteoporosis and osteonecrosis," Zhang said. "We can intercept bone diseases in the elderly from treatment to prevention and greatly improve people's life quality during the process of aging."
The research was published by world-leading journal eLife.