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One therapeutic dose of radiation causes 30 percent spongy bone loss in mice

Mice receiving just one therapeutic dose of radiation lost up to 39% of the spongy portion of their inner bone, reducing the inner bone's weight bearing connections by up to 64%, researchers reported. The study, which appears in the online edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, has implications for patients receiving radiation therapy and astronauts traveling on long space flights.

"We were really surprised at the extent of bone loss," said lead researcher Ted A. Bateman of Clemson University. "We're seeing bone loss at much lower doses of radiation than we expected." The mice suffered the loss of trabecular bone, the spongy area of bone inside the dense outer area known as the cortical bone.

"It's interesting that the trabecular bone, not the cortical bone, suffered the damage," said Bateman, a bioengineer who studies bone biomechanics. The remaining spongy bone must redistribute the load to bear the weight, but this makes the bone support structure less efficient and leaves the bone more vulnerable to fracture.

"A murine model for bone loss from therapeutic and space-relevant sources of radiation," by Sarah A. Hamilton, Neil D. Travis, Jeffrey S. Willey, Eric R. Bandstra and Ted A. Bateman, Clemson University; and Michael J. Pecaut, Daila S. Gridley and Gregory A. Nelson, Loma Linda University and Medical Center, appears in the online edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, published by The American Physiological Society.

Mouse model applies to humans

The results of a mouse study cannot be directly applied to humans. However, both mice and humans lose bone after radiation exposure, so the results raise a red flag. Bateman noted that a recent clinical study of 6,000 cancer patients reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that post-menopausal women who received pelvic radiation for cervical and colorectal cancer increased their bone fracture risk by 60%. Radiation following ana
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Source:American Physiological Society


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