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A mathematical model of bone remodeling dynamics for normal bone cell populations and myeloma bone disease

Bruce P Ayati1*, Claire M Edwards2, Glenn F Webb3 and John P Wikswo45

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Mathematics, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA

2 Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology, Department of Cancer Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

3 Department of Mathematics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 37235, USA

4 Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Physics and Astronomy, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

5 Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education, 6809 Stevenson Center, VU Station B 351807 | Nashville, TN 37235-180

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Biology Direct 2010, 5:28  doi:10.1186/1745-6150-5-28

Published: 20 April 2010



Multiple myeloma is a hematologic malignancy associated with the development of a destructive osteolytic bone disease.


Mathematical models are developed for normal bone remodeling and for the dysregulated bone remodeling that occurs in myeloma bone disease. The models examine the critical signaling between osteoclasts (bone resorption) and osteoblasts (bone formation). The interactions of osteoclasts and osteoblasts are modeled as a system of differential equations for these cell populations, which exhibit stable oscillations in the normal case and unstable oscillations in the myeloma case. In the case of untreated myeloma, osteoclasts increase and osteoblasts decrease, with net bone loss as the tumor grows. The therapeutic effects of targeting both myeloma cells and cells of the bone marrow microenvironment on these dynamics are examined.


The current model accurately reflects myeloma bone disease and illustrates how treatment approaches may be investigated using such computational approaches.


This article was reviewed by Ariosto Silva and Mark P. Little.