Solving the mystery of how cigarette smoking weakens bones

July 26, 2012
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.

Explore further: Seeing others smoke encourages young people to smoke more

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

Related Stories

Recommended for you

As cells age, the fat content within them shifts

January 19, 2017

As cells age and stop dividing, their fat content changes, along with the way they produce and break down fat and other molecules classified as lipids, according to a new University at Buffalo study.

What causes sleepiness when sickness strikes

January 19, 2017

It's well known that humans and other animals are fatigued and sleepy when sick, but it's a microscopic roundworm that's providing an explanation of how that occurs, according to a study from researchers at the Perelman School ...

Soft robot helps the heart beat

January 18, 2017

Harvard University and Boston Children's Hospital researchers have developed a customizable soft robot that fits around a heart and helps it beat, potentially opening new treatment options for people suffering from heart ...

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.