A newly-discovered protein could ease the pain of millions suffering from bone disease, scientists have said.
Researchers at Manchester and Oxford universities have found a naturally occurring protein molecule that protects against inflammation and halts bone erosion.
The team believes patients suffering from osteoporosis and osteoarthritis could find relief from new treatments based on the discovery.
The protein – called TSG-6 – is produced at high levels in inflamed tissue such as the joints of arthritis patients and the lungs of asthmatics.
Professor Tony Day, from Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences, and Dr Afsie Sabokbar, of the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Oxford, are to publish their study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Dr Sabokbar said: “Bone formation and bone breakdown are happening all the time and we now have good evidence that TSG-6 normally works to maintain a balance between these two processes.
“Our latest research, using cells grown in culture, shows that in inflammatory conditions, TSG-6 can inhibit the erosion of bone.
Although inflammation is the body’s natural response to tissue injury, the effect of too much inflammation can be devastating.
It can mean tissue is destroyed faster than it is replaced and, in the joints, this means deterioration of cartilage and bone.
Copyright PA Business 2008