Bone and Skin Laboratory

Lab head: Rebecca Mason
Location: F13 - Anderson Stuart Building

Work in this laboratory is directed towards a better understanding of the problem of osteoporosis and its treatment. Mechanisms that regulate bone turnover and bone mass are studied in human bone cells using molecular techniques. Studies are also undertaken, in collaboration with biomedical engineering, to test the ability of a variety of synthetic materials which could be used for bone implants, to support the growth of bone cells.

Vitamin D is important for normal bone and muscle function and is made in skin. Studies by this group have shown that in skin, vitamin D compounds contribute to protection from ultraviolet/sun damage. Examination of how this photoprotective effect is produced is also a focus of the laboratory and may lead to new agents to enhance sun protection.

Lab members: R Mason (head)

Muscle as a storage site for vitamin D

Primary supervisor: Rebecca Mason

Most vitamin D is made in skin as a result of a photochemical reaction between UVB light and 7-dehydrocholesterol. The vitamin D is then converted to 25hydroxyvitamin D, the major circulating form of vitamin D, in the liver and then to the active hormone, 1,25dihydroxyvitamin D in the kidney and other tissues. Since there is relatively little vitamin D made in winter (not much UVB and not much skin exposed), a storage mechanism for vitamin D seems likely, but has not been investigated. Several lines of indirect evidence are consistent with a proposal that muscle is a site of 25hydroxyvitamin D storage and release. The project, which includes whole animal and cell culture studies, will test this hypothesis.

Discipline: Physiology