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Overexpression of Hmga1 May Prevent Bone Loss, Study Finds

Researchers have tied half-a-dozen genes to post-menopausal osteoporosis, finding in particular that the overexpression of Hmga1 may prevent bone loss. Post-menopausal osteoporosis is common among older women, in whom it leads to bone loss and fragility and contributes to fracture risk. In the FASEB Journal, researchers from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, examined the genes involved in the differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) to home in on six essential genes. One gene in particular — Hmga1, which encodes a chromatin-associated protein — had decreased mRNA and protein-level expression in a rat model of disease. In vitro analyses suggested that overexpression of Hmga1 promotes the osteogenic differentiation of BMSCs via the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway. Further, in ovariectomized rats, the researchers found that overexpression of Hmga1 prevented bone loss. "Our study demonstrated that Hmga1 prevents bone loss by promoting the osteogenic differentiation of BMSCs in osteoporosis rats, suggesting that Hmga1 could be an important therapeutic target for osteoporosis," corresponding author Yihe Hu from Zhejiang University says in a statement.