IU, two other colleges win $10M grant to study bone-muscle health

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Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine and two other institutions have won a $10.4 million grant to study new therapies to improve musculoskeletal conditions.

The National Institutes of Health awarded the five-year grant to IU, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Texas at Arlington. IU announced the grant on Monday.

Researchers at the three institutions say they are particularly interested in developing therapies for osteosarcopenia, a condition marked by the loss of bone density and muscle mass, common in older people.

More than 1 billion people worldwide struggle with musculoskeletal conditions, from arthritis to back pain, making it the second-leading cause of disability, IU said.

When bone and muscle work together, they secrete factors, IU said. One good factor produced by this “bone-muscle crosstalk” is the metabolite beta aminoisobutyric acid, which has been shown in studies to stop bone and muscle loss in inactive mice.

“What we hope to accomplish is to understand muscle and bone crosstalk so we can develop new therapeutics that will prevent osteosarcopenia,” said Dr. Lynda Bonewald, director of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health at the IU School of Medicine, who will lead the research team.

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