Scan of a normal spine trabecular structure (left) vs. osteoporotic spine (right). Normal trabecular bone is thicker, more abundant and forms more connections throughout the structure than trabecular bone.
Osteoclasts are large multinucleated cells that are responsible for bone degradation in all vertebrate animals. With age, increased osteoclast activity causes osteoporosis that can lead to debilitating fractures. The rate at which bone is lost depends mostly on the number of osteoclasts present on bone. Below are described current research in our laboratory that is aimed at better understanding the molecular mechanisms by which osteoclasts differentiate and survive with the expectation that this knowledge will lead to more effective cures to prevent debilitating bone loss.