UNE's Karen Houseknecht part of NIH-funded study on sympathetic nervous system-associated bone loss

Karen Houseknecht
Karen Houseknecht, Ph.D., associate provost for Research and Scholarship

Karen Houseknecht, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and associate provost for Research and Scholarship at the University of New England, will soon embark on a grant-funded project to study how the sympathetic nervous system affects bone.

Houseknecht will join lead investigator Katherine Motyl, Ph.D., faculty scientist at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI), and fellow co-investigator Christine Lary, Ph.D., MMCRI senior biostatistician and faculty scientist, on the study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

The research project will examine how the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) communicates with osteoclasts (cells that dissolve bone) through cell signaling via beta-adrenergic receptors and how this pathway contributes to age- and sympathetic nervous system- associated bone loss. Houseknecht will study the pharmacology, drug metabolism, and pharmacokinetic evaluation of beta-adrenergic ligand effects on bone.
This research will also provide a more complete understanding of how commonly prescribed beta-blockers, medications that lower blood pressure, may help to prevent osteoporosis.

“I’m so pleased to collaborate on this interdisciplinary team as we seek to elucidate foundational cell signaling mechanisms important in the regulation of bone health and dysregulated in osteoporosis,” said Houseknecht.

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