Program leadership

Director: Sundeep Khosla, M.D.

Musculoskeletal Program

The Musculoskeletal Program within the Kogod Center on Aging brings together investigators from multiple disciplines to help define and understand how bone and muscle wasting are linked to fundamental cellular processes in aging.

The focus of the Musculoskeletal Program is to research and develop new therapeutic approaches to age-related osteoporosis and sarcopenia. The program also aims to train the next generation of investigators committed to researching age-related bone and muscle loss.

Focus areas

Research focus areas of the Musculoskeletal Program include:

  • Examining the role of fundamental aging mechanisms, including cell senescence, in age-related bone and muscle loss.
  • Understanding the mechanisms of bone fragility in diabetes.
  • Better understanding the mechanisms underlying the age-related imbalance between bone formation and bone resorption.
  • Defining the circulating and local factors regulating muscle loss with aging.
  • Understanding mechanisms of bone loss associated with multiple myeloma.

Research findings

Researchers in the Musculoskeletal Program have:

  • Identified senescent cells in the bone microenvironment and the effects of their clearance on age-related bone loss in mice.
  • Characterized the specific cells in muscle that undergo cellar senescence.
  • Identified molecular and peripheral blood markers of cellular senescence and aging.
  • Gained a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of coupling between bone formation and bone resorption and how this mechanism becomes unbalanced with aging.
  • Identified the role of specific nuclear transcription factors in modulating bone formation.
  • Identified the relationship between circulating muscle growth factors and muscle mass and loss with aging.

Aging Bone and Muscle Program

Watch a video about the Musculoskeletal Program.

Sundeep Khosla, M.D.

This is a very exciting time for the field of osteoporosis. We're on the threshold of potential cures for this disease, or even reversing the consequences of the disease.

Mayo has a unique place in the history of osteoporosis, as a disease that was defined initially at Mayo. Thirty, 40 years ago, osteoporosis was viewed as an inevitable consequence of aging. The most devastating consequence of the disease is hip fracture. And when people fracture their hip, about a quarter of them die in the hospital. Another quarter never actually make it back home.

When I would go to the osteoporosis clinic, really all I could offer my patients was calcium and vitamin D and perhaps estrogen. Now we have eight or nine new drugs, with more on the horizon. The Holy Grail really is to find new drugs that will essentially cure the disease, and I think we're very close to that.