Monday January 20, 2020

ApoE: The Protein That Prevents Fractures From Healing in Older People

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found a certain protein that is more prevalent in older people and which prevent fractured bones from healing

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fracture, bone, healing, protein, old people
After a few months of your arm or leg healing, there will be almost no cartilage anymore. And if you were to look at it five years out, there'd be no sign of an injury anymore. Pixabay

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found a certain protein that is more prevalent in older people and which prevent fractured bones from healing.

According to the study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight, the research team confirmed that older people have more Apolipoprotein E or ApoE than younger people.

“When we decreased the protein level, ageing was reversed. Not only there was more bone and healing happened faster, but it was also structurally more sound,” said study senior author Gurpreet Baht, Assistant Professor at the Duke University.

They found that 75-85-year-olds had twice as much ApoE in their bloodstreams as 35-45-year-olds, then found the same was true for 24-month-old mice versus 4-month-old mice, which approximate the same human age ranges.

The researchers wanted to figure out if and how ApoE affects the multi-step process of bone healing.

When you break a bone, your body sends signals through the bloodstream to recruit cells to fix it, said the study.

Some of those recruits, specifically skeletal stem cells, build up cartilage as a temporary scaffolding to hold the fracture together.

fracture, bone, healing, protein, old people
A certain protein that is more prevalent in older people and which prevent fractured bones from healing. Pixabay

At last a different kind of cell eats up the cartilage scaffolds and osteoblasts fill those holes with bone.

“Over time, this cartilage will continue to be resorbed and osteoblasts will continue to deposit new bone.

“After a few months of your arm or leg healing, there will be almost no cartilage anymore. And if you were to look at it five years out, there’d be no sign of an injury anymore,” Baht explained.

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The researchers found that if they added ApoE to a petri dish with skeletal stem cells, fewer cells developed into osteoblasts and were worse at building bones.

Next, the researchers created an intervention by injecting a virus which keeps mice from making ApoE protein.

Circulating ApoE levels dropped by 75 per cent and the healed bones contained one and a half-times more strong, hard bone tissue than bones of untreated mice.

The researchers hope this discovery will lead to new treatments to help people heal after injuries or surgeries. (IANS)

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Here’s Everything you Need to Know About Bone Health

Is your lifestyle affecting your bone health?

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Bone Health
Osteoporosis which means porous bone, is a disease that deteriorates your health. Lifetime Stock

BY PUJA GUPTA

Osteoporosis which means porous bone, is a disease in which the density and quality of the bones deteriorate. As you age, bones become more porous and fragile, which leads to higher risk of fractures. This loss of bone density often occurs silently and progressively.

Osteoporosis is most likely to affect older people, especially women who have already been through menopause. Recent surveys show that women are as much as four times more prone to experience bone loss than men.

Dr. Harish Ghoota, Additional Director-Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement, Fortis Escorts Faridabad underlines few important points regarding bone health and explains how social life can impact it.

Bone Health
Women who have already been through menopause may experience problems related to their bone health. Lifetime Stock

Being physically active is vitally important in preventing major diseases, keeping bones healthy and to avoid or minimise the danger of fractures. In contrast, sedentary behaviour (sitting, lying and screen-time, using little or no energy) has negative effects on our overall health, as also on our bone health.

Very few people are aware that calcium is deposited and withdrawn from bones daily. As we grow, bones continue to build up to about the age of 30. We need to, therefore, develop a healthy bone mass while young and continue to make deposits with age, as after our mid-30s, we begin to slowly lose our bone mass. The risk of fracture in a person is decided by the influence of the environment, nutrition and genes in the course of our lifetime, which contributes to bone structure. Functionally, our bones must be strong enough to supply support for the body, yet be sufficiently flexible and lightweight to permit movement.

A major health threat for an estimated 55 per cent of people 50 years and older is that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men in this age group will have an osteoporosis-related fracture.

The new study – whose findings feature in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, has found a surprising link between poor quality social relationships and the presence of bone loss with women aged 50 and above. Studies show that higher social stress leads to negative social interactions and relationships, which in turn affects our body as well. Weaker bones are also connected to lower levels of social activity. Higher social stress is associated with greater bone mineral loss of the total hip and lumbar spine (lower back) area.

Bone Health
You need to maintain your bone health by avoiding or minimising dangers of fractures. Lifetime Stock

Stress occurs when one is unable to cope with a condition. It could be a combination of psychosocial stress events, including loss of positivity, loss of satisfaction with life, that is a sign of bone loss.

Psychosocial stress is a form of stress that some people experience as a result of significant life events or having lower levels of optimism, life satisfaction, or education. Psychosocial stress may increase fracture risk through degradation of bone mineral density. It also alters bone structure and stimulates bone remodelling through dysregulation of hormone secretion, including cortisol, thyroid hormones, somatotropin, and glucocorticoids.

Who is at risk for osteoporosis?

Age: Men and women above 50, as post 30, bone density drops

Gender: Women over the age of 50, who have the greatest risk of developing osteoporosis.

Body weight: Obesity or higher

Family history of recurrent factures and bone related issues

Who should have a bone mineral density test?

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All post-menopausal women who suffer a fracture

All post-menopausal women under age 65 who have one or more additional risk factors and post-menopausal women age 65 and over, regardless of additional risk factors (IANS)