Solving the mystery of how cigarette smoking weakens bones

Solving the mystery of how cigarette smoking weakens bones

(Medical Xpress) -- Almost 20 years after scientists first identified cigarette smoking as a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fractures, a new study is shedding light on exactly how cigarette smoke weakens bones. The report, in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research, concludes that cigarette smoke makes people produce excessive amounts of two proteins that trigger a natural body process that breaks down bone.

Gary Guishan Xiao and colleagues point out that previous studies suggested toxins in weakened bones by affecting the activity of osteoblasts, cells which build new bone, and osteoclasts, which resorb, or break down, old bone. Weakening of the bones, known as osteoporosis, can increase the risk of fractures and is a major cause of disability among older people. To shed light on how cigarette smoking weakens bones, the scientists analyzed differences in genetic activity in bone marrow cells of smokers and non-smokers.

They discovered that human smokers produce unusually large amounts of two proteins that foster production of bone-resorbing osteoclasts compared to non-smokers. Experiments with laboratory mice confirmed the finding.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Cancer and Smoking Related Disease Research Program and the Nebraska Tobacco Settlement Biomedical Research Program.

More information: “Smoke-Induced Signal Molecules in Bone Marrow Cells from Altered Low-Density Lipoprotein Receptor-Related Protein 5 Mice”, Journal of Proteome Research, 2012, 11 (7), pp 3548–3560. DOI: 10.1021/pr2012158

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Avoid the hookah and save your teeth

Nov 08, 2005

Researchers say smoking a hookah is becoming increasingly trendy item in Mediterranean restaurants, cafes and bars -- but it can damage your teeth.

Recommended for you

Mystery of the reverse-wired eyeball solved

Feb 27, 2015

From a practical standpoint, the wiring of the human eye - a product of our evolutionary baggage - doesn't make a lot of sense. In vertebrates, photoreceptors are located behind the neurons in the back of the eye - resulting ...

Neurons controlling appetite made from skin cells

Feb 27, 2015

Researchers have for the first time successfully converted adult human skin cells into neurons of the type that regulate appetite, providing a patient-specific model for studying the neurophysiology of weight ...

Quality control for adult stem cell treatment

Feb 27, 2015

A team of European researchers has devised a strategy to ensure that adult epidermal stem cells are safe before they are used as treatments for patients. The approach involves a clonal strategy where stem cells are collected ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.