What is it about?

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak and brittle, and not all patients respond well to the usual treatments, like bisphosphonates. But why some patients don't improve with these treatments has been unclear. Our research, for the first time, reveals the diversity observed in immune cells of osteoporosis patients and those who fail to respond to treatment.

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Why is it important?

Through years of follow-up investigation, we recruited patients and collected blood samples to perform single-cell RNA sequencing. Surprisingly, we observed an increase in the proportion of natural killer cells in patients who failed bisphosphonate treatment. We also identified specific gene expressions and cell signaling networks unique to treatment failure patients. Furthermore, we observed differences in gene expression and cell signaling between healthy individuals and osteoporotic patients. These findings can be utilized as biomarkers to improve osteoporosis diagnosis and may serve as targets for new drugs and adjunct therapies in various research applications.


This study aimed to uncover the reasons behind treatment failure, an unmet demand observed in real clinical settings. We reported, for the first time worldwide, the diversity of immune cells related to osteoporosis and treatment failure, which had not been previously understood. The significance lies in the application of rare clinical samples to advance research, paving the way for subsequent studies to provide better treatments for patients.

Gun-Hwa Kim
Korea Basic Science Institute

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Heterogeneous osteoimmune profiles via single-cell transcriptomics in osteoporotic patients who fail bisphosphonate treatment, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, February 2024, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2316871121.
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