In order to contribute to the establishment of therapy and prevention for osteoporosis and the other calcium-related disorders, we are elucidating molecular mechanisms underlying regulation of calcium metabolism with emphases on bone formation and resorption. Skeletal system is the largest storage site for calcium in a living body and its metabolism is conducted by a complex cell society consisting of bone-forming osteoblasts and bone-resorbing osteoclasts as well as stromal cells and chondrocytes. In our department, we take molecular and cellular biological approaches to study the mechanisms underlying regulation of development, differentiation, and function of these cells.
Bone is the major organ for calcium metabolism in our body. The regulation of bone metabolism is mediated by a balance between osteoblastic bone formation and osteoclastic bone resorption. These activities are maintained in balance and called bone remodeling. Imbalance of the remodeling results in development of bone disorders, such as osteoporosis. Osteoblasts are differentiated from mesenchymal stem cells. These cells are under the regulation by local and systematical factors, such as growth factors and hormones. These factors activate intracellular signaling, which promotes transcription factors thereby delineates cell differentiation. In our laboratory, we are studying the process from various aspects of bone cell regulation including transcription factors, cytokines and hormones. To promote our study, knockout and transgenic mice, gene introduction via virus, global analysis of gene expression, and genome database analysis are used. Our study will provide the basic understandings of bone homeostasis, which will contribute the development of measures for diagnosis and treatment of bone disorders.