Navigation Links
New technique yields troves of information from nanoscale bone samples

Troy, N.Y. A new technique developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute allows researchers to collect large amounts of biochemical information from nanoscale bone samples.

Along with adding important new insights into the fight against osteoporosis, this innovation opens up an entirely new proteomics-based approach to analyzing bone quality. It could even aid the archeological and forensic study of human skeletons.

"We're able to take very small, nanoscale-sized bone samples, and determine the protein signatures of the bone," said Deepak Vashishth, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer, who led the study. "This is a relatively quick, easy way for us to determine the history of the bone how and when it formed as well as the quality of the bone, and its likelihood to fracture."

Results of the study, titled "Biochemical Characterization of Major Bone-Matrix Proteins Using Nanoscale-Size Bone Samples and Proteomics Methodology," were released online in late May by the journal Molecular & Cellular Proteomics. The journal, published by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, will also feature the paper in an upcoming print edition. The study may be viewed online at:

The research, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was conducted in the laboratories of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer.

Bones are primarily composed of mineral, with the remaining amount comprised of organic material. The vast majority of the organic material is collagen. The remaining non-collagenous organic material is a mixture of other proteins, which form an interlinked matrix. The quality of this matrix varies greatly with age, nutrition, and disease. Vashishth and his research group investigate this bone matrix to determine how the interaction and modification of individual proteins impact the development, structure, and strength of the overall bone.

In this study, they paired laser-capture microscopy with several other techniques to create an entirely new method for analyzing bone matrix. The analysis yields data about the concentration of different proteins in the bone matrix, which in turn leads to key information about the bone such as when it was formed, how it has been modified, and if it is more or less prone to fracture.

Vashishth said this is an important step toward augmenting current osteoporosis diagnosis techniques, which measure bone loss and the quantity of bone present, with new, minimally invasive, proteomics-driven techniques for assessing the quality of the bone.

The young field of proteomics focuses on the structure and function of proteins, and is ripe for innovation, Vashishth said. The term "proteomics" echoes the word genomics, the study of genes. Proteomics seeks to decode the human proteome by documenting the structure, function, and interactions of proteins.

"This is kind of a new area, because bone fracture has always been looked at from a bone calcium perspective, a mineral perspective, and current osteoporosis treatment methods are all geared toward that," he said. "In osteoporosis, very little attention has been paid to bone proteins. That's why we're very excited about our new proteomics-based method to read a bone's protein signature, and assess the quality of the bone. I think it opens up a new avenue for approaching and studying osteoporosis."

Like all tissues in the human body, bones regenerate themselves over time. Bones regenerate much slower than other tissues, however, and the skeleton takes about 10 years to gradually replace itself with new tissue. Different parts of a bone regenerate at different rates, meaning some areas of a bone may be older and more susceptible to fracture, while other areas of the same bone are newer and sturdier. Older and younger parts of a bone have different protein signatures and react differently to medical treatments. Vashishth said his new method is an easy way to help differentiate between different aged areas of bone, determine their quality, and forecast their susceptibility to fracture.

Finally, along with pushing forward the emerging field of bone proteomics and opening up new possibilities for studying and treating osteoporosis, Vashishth's findings could prove useful to researchers in other areas who deal with bone. Forensics, biology, anthropology, archaeology, and other areas where bone samples are truly rare, small, and precious would likely find it useful to analyze bone protein signatures with minimal damage to the bone sample, he said. This protein signature information could offer new insight into how bones were formed, along with the nutrition and diet of those individuals.


Contact: Michael Mullaney
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Related biology news :

1. New discovery -- copepods share divers weight belt technique with whales
2. New parallelization technique boosts our ability to model biological systems
3. Penn researchers develop biological circuit components, new microscope technique for measuring them
4. New synchrotron technique could see hidden building blocks of life
5. Sardines and horse mackerel identified using forensic techniques
6. New technique sheds light on the mysterious process of cell division
7. New technique promises to lift the hood’ on autism
8. Molecular technique advances soybean rust resistance research
9. Penn researchers develop technique for measuring stressed molecules in cells
10. New technique improves sensitivity of PCR pathogen detection
11. Polarized microscopy technique shows new details of how proteins are arranged
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
New technique yields troves of information from nanoscale bone samples
(Date:11/17/2015)... Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) ("PBI" and ... of broadly enabling, pressure cycling technology ("PCT")-based sample preparation ... it has received gross proceeds of $745,000 from an ... "Offering"), increasing the total amount raised to date in ... are expected in the near future. ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 2015  Arxspan has entered into an agreement ... for use of its ArxLab cloud-based suite of ... partnership will support the institute,s efforts to electronically ... information internally and with external collaborators. The ArxLab ... the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound and assay ...
(Date:11/10/2015)...  In this report, the biomarkers market ... type, application, disease indication, and geography. The ... consumables, services, software. The type segments included ... biomarkers, and validation biomarkers. The applications segments ... drug discovery and development, personalized medicine, disease ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Copper is an essential micronutrient that all ... copper is also toxic to cells. With a $1.3 million award from the ... a systematic study of copper in the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), a ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... PUNE, India , November 24, 2015 ... to a new market research report "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market ... Equipment), Application (PCR, Gene Synthesis, Diagnostic, DNA, RNAi), End-User ... to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected ... 1,078.1 Million in 2015, at a CAGR of 10.1% ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... --> --> ... by Transparency Market Research, the global non-invasive prenatal testing ... 17.5% during the period between 2014 and 2022. The ... Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2014 ... to reach a valuation of US$2.38 bn by 2022. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In harsh industrial processes, the ... in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where leaking process media is a ... sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate extreme process conditions. They combine ...
Breaking Biology Technology: