Pelvic socket in to which the ball of the hip joint is inserted.
A cell specialised for the storage of fat.
Most commonly prescribed bisphosphonate in the UK. Works by disrupting osteoclast formation and function.
Relating to the process of building up, or synthesis, in living systems.
A protein found in the blood which is used by the immune system to identify and destroy any foreign objects such as bacteria.
A molecule which is stimulates the action of an antibody, e.g. a toxin, bacterium, foreign blood cell.
Joint replacement surgery.
A procedure for measuring the activity of a drug or biochemical in an organism or organic sample (e.g. urine sample).
Laboratory equipment used for estimating the concentrations of various ions, molecules and enzymes in samples taken from the tissues, blood, urine, cerebro-spinal fluid, etc. These machines perform a number of different tests simultaneously on sub-samples of the original fluid.
The analysis of research publications in terms of their numbers and the number of times they are cited by subsequent publications. A higher number of citations indicates more significant works.
A storage facility for biological samples.
Prescribed to reduce fracture risk in patients with low bone density. Also used treat secondary bone cancer, or to prevent or control bone thinning due to chemo- or hormone-therapy. They primarily interfere with the activity of osteoclasts to slow down bone destruction.
body mass index (BMI)
A measure of your weight in relation to height. Calculate your BMI here.
The measurement of bone mineral density by x-ray absorptiometry or quantitative CT.
bone formation markers
Biochemicals involved in the processes of bone formation, which can be detected in blood and urine. (See also bone turnover markers.)
bone mineral density (BMD)
A frequently used measure of bone strength, which relates to the amount of calcium in bones.
The process by which bone is broken down by osteoclasts, releasing the minerals (such as calcium) into the blood stream. (cf. bone formation)
bone turnover markers (BTM)
Biological components involved in bone formation and bone resorption (e.g. enzymes) found in the blood which indicate the level of active bone turnover. Used to monitor the effects of different treatments in clinical trials.
See trabecular bone
A small, yellowish tumour which secretes serotonin. Usually found in the gastrointestinal tract and lung.
An imaging method that uses X-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the body.
The hard, compact bone which forms the outer shell , surrounding the bone marrow and trabecular bone.
Computerised tomography scanner. A type of x-ray machine which is used to obtain detailed images.
Any of several regulatory proteins that carry signals to neighbouring cells.
Mono-clonal antibody used in the treatment of osteoporosis. It works by inhibiting the development and activity of osteoclasts, decreasing bone resorption, and increasing bone density.
A gene which codes for Dickkopf-related protein 1, which is involved in the WNT signalling pathway. This protein is present at elevated levels in the blood and bone marrow plasma of patients with multiple myeloma.
Dual-energy x-ray absorbtiometry (DXA)
A technique used to estimate bone mineral density by measuring the attenuation by bone of a dual-energy x-ray beam.
Electronic case report form.
Electrocardiogram. A test to record the electrical activity of the heart.
The study of the glands and hormones of the body (endocrine system) and their related disorders.
enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
An assay method used mainly to detect the presence of antibodies or antigens in a sample.
A protein which acts to speed up biochemical reactions by providing binding sites for the reactive molecules.
Ball of the hip bone which insets in to the pelvic socket (acetabulum) to form the hip joint.
finite element analysis
Computer-based analysis of the material properties of a structure. It was developed in engineering but can be applied to digital diagnostic images for the analysis of bone strength.
fracture risk assessment pathway (FRAS)
A fracture risk assessment tool used in the Metabolic Bone Clinic to identify patients at risk of vertebral fractures.
Tool developed by WHO to evaluate the probability of patients suffering a major osteoporotic fracture (spine, forearm, hip or shoulder) within the next 10 years. Available at http://www.shef.ac.uk/FRAX/tool.jsp
A malformation of the hip, usually resulting in partial or complete dislocation of the hip, that can lead to pain and arthritis.
An alternative to total hip arthroplasty, in which the damaged surface of the femoral head is replaced with metal surfaces. (See also Metal-on-metal hip resurfacing)
The study of the microscopic organisation and structure of a tissue (e.g. bone), often by computer-assisted analysis of high resolution images.
A chemical substance secreted by endocrine glands which is transported by the blood to its target site in the body, where it acts to regulate a specific physiological process (e.g. oestrodiol).
A bisphosphonate drug. Alternative to alendronate with a similar action. Works by selectively inhibiting osteoclast activity.
A biochemical test that detects the presence and measures the concentration of a substance in solutions that frequently contain a complex mixture of substances.
New treatment for osteoporosis which reduces both vertebral and non-vertebral fracture risk. It works as an oestrogen analogue, binding to oestrogen receptors and mimicking it’s effects.
Metabolic Bone Centre (MBC)
Situated at the Northern General Hospital and housing the Metabolic Bone Service .
Matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs)
Enzyme which plays a role in the degradation of collagen.
Metal-on-metal hip resurfacing (MOMHR)
A newer technique in hip replacement surgery, in which the femoral head is smoothed and covered with a metallic layer, which integrates with a metal shell inserted in to the pelvic socket. Is popular especially in younger patients due to improved mobility and gait. (cf. total hip arthroplasty).
Malignancy of the plasma cells. Collections of abnormal cells accumulate in bones, where they cause bone lesions, and in the bone marrow , where they interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
Cross-linked N-telopeptides of type I collagen. Biological compound resulting from the breakdown of collagen. The presence of NTX in the urine is used as a measure of bone turnover.
A group of hormones secreted mainly from the ovaries, which are involved in the oestrus cycle and development of female sexual characteristics.
The predominant sex hormone present in females. A steroid which affects reproductive functions but also impacts on other organs including bones.
A cytokine receptor which can reduce the production of osteoclasts by inhibiting the differentiation of osteoclast precursors. Used as a preventative treatment for bone loss.
The formation of a direct attachment between an implant (such as in MOMHR) and bone, without any intervening soft tissue.
A progressive disorder of the joints caused by the gradual loss of cartilage and resulting in the development of bony spurs and cysts at the margins of the joints.
Cell responsible for bone formation.
Cell responsible for bone resorption.
A collective term for proteins that play a role in the regulation of bone remodelling, primarily affecting the function of osteoblasts and osteoclasts.
Active resorption of bone as part of an ongoing disease process. Common problem in THA due to wear particles (from the contact surface of the artificial ball and socket joint). These trigger an auto-immune reaction which stimulates bone resorption.
A condition characterised by loss of bone, leading to increased fracture risk.
parathyroid hormone (PTH)
A hormone which acts to increase the amount of calcium circulating in the blood.
peak bone mass
The amount of bony tissue present at the end of skeletal maturation.
Fracture occurring at the site of THA, relating to the prosthetic implant.
peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT)
Technique for measuring BMD in the peripheral skeleton, e.g. forelimb or lower leg. (See also QCT)
Small protein-like chains designed to mimic a peptide. They can have a role in the development of drug-like compounds from existing peptides, by adjusting molecular properties such as stability or biological activity.
The practice of opening a vein by surgical incision or puncture to remove blood (e.g. to take blood samples).
Disease which causes excessive secretion of parathyroid hormone, which results in elevated calcium levels in the blood. Sometimes associated with osteoporosis.
An artificial replacement for a missing part of the body.
Thigh bone, closest part to the hip joint.
quantitative ultrasound (QUS)
This technique measures how an ultrasound beam changes as it passes through bone. It also measures the speed of sound (SOS). These two factors indicate the quality of the structure, elasticity, and strength of the bone, which, along with BMD, can predict fracture risk.
quantitative computed tomography (QCT)
Method of assessing volumetric BMD.
receptor activator for nuclear factor κ B ligand (RANKL)
An important molecule in bone metabolism which is found on osteoblasts, and binds to and activates osteoclasts. OPG inhibits the activity of RANKL, potentially slowing down bone resorption, and is therefore a useful target for new osteoporosis treatments.
An extremely sensitive and specific technique for measuring the concentration of antigens in a sample, using a radioactive signal.
A bishosphonate. Alternative to alendronate.
serious adverse event (SAE)
Term used in clinical research to describe any serious side-effects caused by trial medication.
School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield.
A biological compound that occurs in the brain, intestines, and blood platelets and is involved in sleep, depression, memory and other neurological processes. It also has a role in the control of blood flow and muscle contraction.
standard operating procedure (SOP)
A set of written instructions on how to perform a specific procedure. Ensures that Health and Safety guidelines are met, encourages good working practices, and results in a high standard of quality control across all aspects of our research.
structural engineering model (SEM)
A model that we have applied to the prediction of fracture risk.
A microCT scanner which generates 3D images of bone morphology and internal microstructure by taking virtual sections through a sample of bone tissue.
A recombinant form of parathyroid hormone, used in the treatment of some forms of osteoporosis.
total hip arthroplasty (THA)
The traditional method of hip replacement, in which the femoral head is replaced by a metal prosthesis, and fits in to a cup-shaped polyethylene or ceramic prosthesis fixed in to the socket. (cf. metal on metal hip arthroplasty)
An x-ray based technique used to obtain diagnostic images of a selected plane section through the human body.
Also known as cancellous bone, this is formed from a lattice of microscopic plates and rods. It is less dense than cortical bone. The proportion of trabecular to cortical bone varies by skeletal site, from around 10% trabecular bone in the long bones to around 90% in the vertebral bodies. Due to its large surface area, trabecular bone responds to hormonal changes more rapidly than cortical bone, therefore osteoporosis affects bone mass more rapidly at the spine than at sites such as the radius.
Wnt signalling pathway
A new target for treatment of osteoporosis, the Wnt signalling pathway describes a network of proteins, and is a major regulator of bone mass accrual.
Xtreme CT peripheral scanning device
A CT scanner that obtains detailed images of the peripheral skeleton, namely the distal radius and tibia. It produces high-resolution images of bone microarchitecture with a voxel (volumetric pixel) size of 82µm.
A bisphosphonate drug, which reduces fracture risk by up to 70%. Delivered intravenously and can be given as a one-off single treatment to lower calcium levels in the blood, or at regular intervals (e.g. once monthly).