Thursday, February 25, 2010

Unexpected Discovery: Active Component in Fresh Egg Shells Good for Bone Building Cells, Cartilage Formation and Aging Skin

Fresh egg shells can be good for your bones and your skin according a Philadelphia researcher. Eggshells are a biological material comprising about 95-98% calcium carbonate, 1-2% trace minerals including Mg and others, and about 1-2% organic compounds such as proteins and collagens. 

Dr. Ilan Elias (Rothman Institute, Philadelphia, PA) has identified an active component of chicken eggshells, which has shown in  ex-vivo studies to have a stimulating effect on bone building cells (osteoblasts). The substance is a polypeptide mixture extracted from eggshells. Elias discovered that a composition comprising eggshell polypeptides stimulates osteoblasts, and has osteoinductive/osteogenic properties, hematopoietic properties, and cartilage formation or differentiation properties. The eggshell polypeptide extracts can be locally or systemically administered. The discovery is detailed in U.S. Patent Application 20100041606.

Throughout life, old bone is continuously removed by bone-resorbing osteoclasts and replaced with new bone, which is formed by osteoblasts. This cycle is called the bone-remodeling cycle and is normally highly regulated, that is, the functioning of osteoclasts and osteoblasts is linked such that in a steady state the same amount of bone is formed as is resorbed. 

 The eggshells are chicken eggshells, that is, eggshells from Gallus gallus. In other embodiments, the eggshells are from goose (Anser anser), duck (Anas platyrhynchos) or ostrich (Struthio camelus).

The eggshells are fresh eggshells. Fresh eggshells are defined herein as shells from eggs that are not treated/processed with heat, e.g., boiled, steam heated, or autoclaved. This feature distinguishes the present eggshell preparations from prior art preparations in which heat/steam are used to process the eggshells.

Without being held to theory, it is believed that commercially available eggshell preparations (e.g. puamen ovi, Biomin) have a much lower polypeptide concentration than extracts from fresh eggshells. In other embodiments, the eggshells are from boiled, steam/heated. Fresh eggshells can be either from non-fertilized or from fertilized eggs.

Elias unexpectedly discovered that a composition comprising eggshell polypeptides has osteoinductive/ osteogenic properties, that is, stimulates osteogenesis. The composition comprising eggshell polypeptides is administered to an individual in need of treatment for a bone disorder such as osteoporosis, osteopenia, osteogenesis imperfecta, Paget's disease, bone fractures and the like.

Elias also discovered that a composition comprising eggshell polypeptides has hematopoietic properties, that is, stimulates hematopoiesis. In one embodiment, the composition comprising eggshell polypeptides is administered to an individual in need of treatment for anemia and related bone marrow and blood disorders.

Elias also found that a composition comprising eggshell polypeptides has cartilage formation and/or differentiation properties. In one embodiment, the composition comprising eggshell polypeptides is administered to an individual in need of repair of cartilage. 

A composition comprising eggshell polypeptides can also be employed to stimulate fibroblasts, for example, in the form of a topical composition. Fibroblasts, located in the dermal layer, produce components of the extracellular matrix like collagen and various cytokines, which, in turn, enhance the proliferation and migration of keratinocytes. Keratinocytes are located in the epidermal layer and form a barrier against the external environment. The compositions comprising eggshell polypeptides are useful in topical, e.g., cosmetic compositions for the treatment of skin barrier and cornification disorders, and for skin aging and/or wrinkle reduction. Eggshell polypeptides can be embedded in phosphatidylcholine liposomes or nanoparticles. 

The bone-remodeling cycle occurs at particular areas on the surfaces of bones. Osteoclasts which are formed from appropriate precursor cells within bones resorb portions of bone; new bone is then generated by osteoblast activity. Osteoblasts synthesize the collagenous precursors of bone matrix and also regulate its mineralization. The dynamic activity of osteoblasts in the bone remodeling cycle to meet the requirements of skeletal growth and matrix and also regulate its maintenance and mechanical function is thought to be influenced by various factors, such as hormones, growth factors, physical activity and other stimuli.

Osteoblasts are thought to have receptors for parathyroid hormone and estrogen. There is a metabolic synergism between osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Osteoclasts adhere to the surface of bone undergoing resorption and are thought to be activated by a signal from osteoblasts. Osteoblasts, however, are also activated by a signal (e.g., released Ca) from osteoclasts. It is therefore important that both counterparts are active, in order to stimulate each other and to produce new bone. When treating an osteoporosis patient with bisphosphonates, for example, the patient's osteoclasts are diminished. It is uncertain as how active the osteoblasts will be in the long-term when receiving less signal from the remaining osteoclasts. For the human body it is essential to use both active osteoblast and active osteoclast to have new bone formation. 

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