As we get older, our bones become less dense and gradually get weaker, making them more prone to breakage. This can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which affects around three million people in the UK. In order to look into potential treatments for osteoporosis, researchers have been studying the physiological processes that take place within bone, using a technique that makes it transparent called Bone CLARITY. Bone CLARITY works to remove fats, calcium and blood residue from the bone, allowing the bone’s make up to be clearly visualised while preserving its architecture. Using fluorescent tags, the team could then pinpoint stem cells (pictured in red) in the cleared leg bones of mice. This technique will allow testing of new medications for osteoporosis, by tracking their effects on the stem cells themselves and provide interesting insights into the inner workings of our bones.
Written by Katie Panteli
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