Application of quantitative analysis in treatment of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis

Andy Bowei Chen, Purdue University


As our population ages, treating bone and joint ailments is becoming increasingly important. Both osteoporosis, a bone disease characterized by a decreased density of mineral in bone, and osteoarthritis, a joint disease characterized by the degeneration of cartilage on the ends of bones, are major causes of decreased movement ability and increased pain. To combat these diseases, many treatments are offered, including drugs and exercise, and much biomedical research is being conducted. However, how can we get the most out of the research we perform and the treatment we do have? One approach is through computational analysis and mathematical modeling. In this thesis, quantitative methods of analysis are applied in different ways to two systems: osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. A mouse model simulating osteoporosis is treated with salubrinal and knee loading. The bone and cell data is used to formulate a system of differential equations to model the response of bone to each treatment. Using Particle Swarm Optimization, optimal treatment regimens are found, including a consideration of budgetary constraints. Additionally, an in vitro model of osteoarthritis in chondrocytes receives RNA silencing of Lrp5. Microarray analysis of gene expression is used to further elucidate the mode of regulation of ADAMTS5, an aggrecanase associated with cartilage degradation, by Lrp5, including the development of a mathematical model. The math model of osteoporosis reveals a quick response to salubrinal and a delayed but substantial response to knee loading. Consideration of cost effectiveness showed that as budgetary constraints increased, treatment did not start until later. The quantitative analysis of ADAMTS5 regulation suggested the involvement of IL1β and p38 MAPK. This research demonstrates the application of quantitative methods to further the usefulness of biomedical and biomolecular research into treatment and signaling pathways. Further work using these techniques can help uncover a bigger picture of osteoarthritis's mode of action and ideal treatment regimens for osteoporosis.




Yokota, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Biomedical engineering

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