Osteonin – a possible treatment for osteoporosis Custom Essay

Osteonin – a possible treatment for osteoporosis


In trials with human cells in the laboratory a single dose of 10 mg per 60 kg of the experimental drug osteonin has been found to inhibit the bone-digesting activity of human osteoclasts by 90% for seven days. The activity of osteoblasts and levels of calcitonin and parathyroid hormone are not affected.

Osteonin is being evaluated as a way of reducing the progression of (and perhaps even reversing) osteoporosis, but there are concerns about its possible side effects. One osteologist said “We need to consider what effect osteonin will have on the concentration of calcium in the bloodstream over the course of the day (especially after eating and also after not eating for many hours) and the possible side effects this will lead to.”

In an essay of 1600 words please logically argue how osteonin will affect blood calcium over the course of 24 hours and how this will affect (a) the nervous system and (b) blood clotting. Then please argue how a person who is taking a weekly dose of osteonin might reduce these side-effects.

You will not find anything about osteonin on the internet or in medical journals. You will need to use your knowledge of normal and abnormal physiology to argue its side effects and how these might be reduced.

Requested length: 1600 words (excluding references)

Maximum length: 1800 words (excluding references)

Minimum number of references: one. This essay does not need a lot of references. I am looking for your logical and original arguments about the likely side effects of this drug.

Your essay does not need an abstract, table of contents or summary.

Please submit your essay as a .doc or .docx file. Do not submit a .pdf or any other file type.

Please do not include a front page with an illustration. Your name and student number are all that are needed on the front page of your essay.

Please double space your essay and use font 12.

Referencing: You may use either the Harvard (author-date) or American Psychological Association (APA) system of referencing.

Due date: Friday 28th August, 2015 at 3.00 PM (that’s 3.00 in the afternoon) AEST on Friday of Week 6.

Please upload your assignment in the block marked ‘Assessment’ on the left hand side of the course Moodle page.

Here is a link to a paper about the intention of the essay

Here are the essay assessment criteria (from the course profile):

HD (85% or higher): Original style and arguments, explaining concepts clearly and logically in the student’s own words without unexplained technical terms or great slabs of quotation. Extremely well-argued, including integrated, original, sustained arguments. Very well written—no ‘there’ where ‘their’ is appropriate, ‘it’s’ where ‘its’ should be, etc. with few or no grammatical errors. Referencing consistent in format throughout.

D (75–84%): Original style but not always argued clearly and logically, or written in the student’s own words. Well written, but with less originality than the HD standard discussed above. Well argued and appropriate criticism. No great slabs of quotation. Some grammatical errors. Referencing consistent in format throughout.

C (65–74%): Argument and discussion less clear, less original or poorly integrated. Perhaps some unexplained technical terms, or poorer explanation. Grammatical errors. Less obvious originality and more reliance on quotations. Referencing consistent in format throughout.

P (50–64%): Discussion and argument sketchy, with little evidence of understanding. Poorly written. Unexplained technical/physiological terms. A lot of direct quotes rather than use of own words. Poorer grammar. Referencing inconsistent and/or incomplete.

The essay is not difficult. The drug Osteonin inhibits the activity of osteoclasts which normally break down bone.

First you need to work out what effect this will have on blood calcium levels over 24 hours, since the drug will greatly reduce the ability of osteoclasts to release calcium from the bones into the bloodstream, even when it’s needed.

Second, once you have argued what is likely to happen to blood calcium levels over 24 hours, you need to argue what effect this will have on the function of nerves (I’ve talked about calcium and nerves in lecture 5) and on blood clotting.

Finally you need to argue how a person who is being treated with Osteonin might reduce these side effects.


Student question: If Osteonin reduces osteoclast activity by 90% the this should lead to less calcium output from bones, but the essay question also says osteonin has no effect on parathyroid hormone levels. But parathyroid hormone normally affects the activity of osteoclasts, so has the drug altered the structure of parathyroid hormone or somehow made it ineffective?

Steve’s answer: The drug only inhibits the activity of osteoclasts (which normally release calcium from bone when it’s needed to replenish the amount of calcium in the bloodstream) but osteonin doesn’t affect the levels of calcitonin or parathyroid hormone.

So I guess you could say that osteonin makes the osteoclasts unresponsive to parathyroid hormone (PTH): when blood calcium levels are low PTH will be released by the parathyroid glands but the osteoclasts won’t respond by releasing calcium from bones.

When blood calcium levels are high the osteoblasts will respond to the increased secretion of calcitonin (by the thyroid) and deposit the excess calcium in bones.

Knowing that, you can work out what will happen to the levels of blood calcium over 24 hours, because the only source of calcium they will be able to use to keep blood calcium at the right level will be in what they eat and drink.

Student question: I am working on the first part of the essay: blood calcium levels over 24 hours.

If calcium is consumed, does vitamin D still help absorb it from the gut (even though the osteoclasts are not very functional)? The text book states ‘vitamin D3 is to serve as a cofactor with PTH to increase intestinal absorption of calcium’

Steve’s answer: The absorption of calcium from the gut should still occur because osteonin only affects the osteoclasts. So if a person were to consume a calcium rich meal there should be good uptake into the bloodstream.

tudent question: Hi Steve, What are you looking for in the suggestions for reducing the side effects of the drug (the second part of the essay)?

Steve’s answer: This is where you have the opportunity to offer your own original ideas (supported by logical arguments) about how a person taking osteonin could reduce the fluctuations in blood calcium levels that you discussed in the first part of the essay.

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