Rickets, specifically X-linked hypophosphatemia, causes bones to soften and weaken because the kidneys waste phosphate, a primary mineral that combines with calcium to make bones and teeth. The disease is similar to osteoporosis but occurs in children with growing bones.
In the mouse study, researchers found that a particular Federal Drug Administration-approved drug, Indomethacin, keeps the body from wasting needed amounts of phosphate without causing the potentially life-threatening complications of conventional therapies. Indomethacin is a drug similar to aspirin or ibuprofen and is commonly used to relieve pain, swelling and stiffness caused by gout, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
The researchers' findings appear in a future edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and are available online at www.pnas.org . The study results are so promising that plans are already under way for the same study in children, said Dr. Raymond Quigley, associate professor of pediatrics and the study's senior author.
Children with rickets have vital phosphate washed out of the body through urine. Too little phosphate not only leads to rickets but also causes children to be abnormally short and have problems with their teeth and muscles.
"We gave Indomethacin to animals, and we found that the phosphate excreted in urine completely normalized. That was rather surprising and encouraging to us. We hope Indomethacin has the same effect in children," said Dr. Michel Baum, professor of pediatrics and internal medicine and the study's lead author.
Currently, doctors try to counteract the effect of rickets by prescribing phosphate sup
Contact: Staishy Bostick Siem
UT Southwestern Medical Center