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Musculoskeletal Diseases


The MDP is dedicated to producing molecular and cellular advances related to the effects of toxicants on tissues of the bones and joints. Basic science and human studies are in progress using animal models of inflammation for the study of neuronal/musculoskeletal interactions, and clinical studies are ongoing to determine relationships between lead and bone disease.

Research Focus Groups

Effects of Toxicants on Bone Metabolism with a Focus on Osteoporosis.

The main focus of this research group is to determine the role of agents such as environmental lead and second-hand smoke, on bone resorption and formation. The underlying theme is that toxicants, in combination with other co-factors such as low dietary calcium and aging, alter the coordinated regulation between resorption and formation creating a negative bone balance and leading to a decrease in skeletal mass. A loss of skeletal mass is the hallmark of osteoporosis and contributes to increased risk of fractures.

Effects of Toxicants on Cartilage Metabolism with a Focus on Arthritis.

A second major area of interest is the role of environmental toxicants on articular cartilage function. The relevance of these studies lies in the fact that disruption of normal cartilage metabolism leads to joint degradation and the disease, osteoarthritis. The public health impact of arthritis is even greater than that for osteoporosis, and it appears that specific toxic agents worsen this disease.