Ellie May (BSc2 student) was awarded an Animal Care Trust summer studentship for the summer of 2017. She worked with Dr Isabel Orriss and Dr Chantal Chenu on the following project "Do high glucose levels inhibit bone formation by potentiating local purinergic signalling?". Ellie provides a summary below:
Skeletal complications associated with diabetes are well documented, however, the specific mechanisms responsible for skeletal complications are poorly understood. Previous studies have shown that impaired osteoblast function (the cell type responsible for bone formation) may be involved in diabetic-related skeletal complications. Earlier work has shown that the extracellular nucleotides, ATP and UTP, act via P2 receptors to inhibit bone mineralisation.
The aim of this research project was to investigate whether high glucose levels (such as those seen in diabetes) inhibit bone formation by potentiating local purinergic signalling. The effects of high glucose on cell number and viability, ATP release, bone mineralisation and P2 receptor expression were investigated in primary osteoblasts. The results suggest that high glucose does not influence ATP release but may regulate P2 receptor expression in osteoblasts (e.g.P2Y2 receptor expression was decreased 3-fold in high glucose). It also appeared to attenuate the inhibitory effects of ATP on mineralisation. This suggests that high glucose may have some modulatory effects on purinergic signalling in bone.