According to a study published in Nature Communications, blocking certain proteins in the brain leads to the growth of significantly stronger bones. New research developed in the U.S. could lead the way to new therapies for osteoporosis. This disease mainly affects menopausal women and leads to progressive weakening of bones. With increasing age, osteoporosis particularly affects women starting with menopause, an important time in female reproductive life and characterized by a sharp reduction in levels of estrogen hormones. The new study carried out by researchers from the University of California in San Francisco and the University of California in Los Angeles is trying to understand the link between estrogen and the brain. We talked about it with Prof. Carlo Selmi, head of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at Humanitas and professor at the University of Milan.
Block estrogen receptors to strengthen bones
By blocking the estrogen receptors in the hypothalamus, researchers noticed in the laboratory that the consequence was weight gain.
However, this effect was not due to the growth of fat or muscles but to the growth of bone mass, which in some laboratory experiments had increased by 800%. By eliminating estrogen receptors in the hypothalamus with osteoporosis, bone density increased by 50% in just a few weeks.
The current hypothesis
If bone growth is related to this protein, the hypothesis put on the table by researchers is that normally these proteins take energy from bone growth for use elsewhere in the body. If this were the case, it would be possible to dose these substances so as to restore bone density even to women in menopause, when they need it most.
This hypothesis has yet to be confirmed with numerous new studies, which should also be tested outside the laboratory.