Lithium and bone healing

July 30, 2007

Researchers have described a novel molecular pathway that may have a critical role in bone healing and have suggested that lithium, which affects this pathway, has the potential to improve fracture healing.

The study, led by Benjamin Alman from the Hospital For Sick Children, Toronto, investigated the role of the beta-catenin signaling pathway, which activates T cell factor -dependent gene transcription, and which is known to have a key regulatory role in embryonic skeletal development.

By studying mice with fractures the researchers were able to show that beta-catenin-mediated gene transcription was activated in both bone and cartilage formation during fracture repair. In mice that lacked beta-catenin fracture healing was inhibited, whereas in mice expressing an activated form of beta-catenin bone healing was accelerated. Treating mice with lithium activated beta-catenin in the healing fracture, but healing was enhanced only when treatment was given after the fracture occurred, rather than before.

These results show that that beta-catenin functions differently at different stages of fracture repair. Although the relevance of this study to human fractures remains to be determined, activation of beta-catenin by lithium treatment has the potential to improve fracture healing, but probably only when given in later phases of fracture healing.

Citation: Chen Y, Whetstone HC, Lin AC, Nadesan P, Wei Q, et al. (2007) Beta-catenin signaling plays a disparate role in different phases of fracture repair: Implications for therapy to improve bone healing. PLoS Med 4(7): e249.

Source: Public Library of Science

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Scientists produce human intestinal lining that re-creates living tissue inside organ-chip

February 16, 2018
Investigators have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual's body mirror living tissue when placed inside microengineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing ...

Data wave hits health care

February 16, 2018
Technology used by Facebook, Google and Amazon to turn spoken language into text, recognize faces and target advertising could help doctors fight one of the deadliest infections in American hospitals.

Researcher explains how statistics, neuroscience improve anesthesiology

February 16, 2018
It's intuitive that anesthesia operates in the brain, but the standard protocol among anesthesiologists when monitoring and dosing patients during surgery is to rely on indirect signs of arousal like movement, and changes ...

Team reports progress in pursuit of sickle cell cure

February 16, 2018
Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao.

Appetite-controlling molecule could prevent 'rebound' weight gain after dieting

February 15, 2018
Scientists have revealed how mice control their appetite when under stress such as cold temperatures and starvation, according to a new study by Monash University and St Vincent's Institute in Melbourne. The results shed ...

First study of radiation exposure in human gut Organ Chip device offers hope for better radioprotective drugs

February 14, 2018
Chernobyl. Three Mile Island. Fukushima. Accidents at nuclear power plants can potentially cause massive destruction and expose workers and civilians to dangerous levels of radiation that lead to cancerous genetic mutations ...

0 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.