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Univ.-Prof. Reinhold Erben

Erben Group

Molecular endocrinology of bone and mineral homeostasis

Bone and mineral homeostasis are essential processes for life. Disturbances in bone and mineral homeostatic mechanisms are found in many diseases such as osteoporosis, chronic kidney disease, or cardiovascular disease. The research of the Erben group is aimed at improving our understanding of the regulation and the pathophysiological role of the vitamin D hormone system, of the bone-derived hormone fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF23) and its co-receptor αKlotho, and of bone’s inbuilt ability to regenerate in health and disease.

The vitamin D hormone is not only essential for the preservation of calcium and phosphate levels in the blood, but may also have important functions in the cardiovascular system and in glucose homeostasis. FGF23 is hormone produced in bone cells, and acts physiologically mainly on the kidney to suppress phosphate re-uptake and vitamin D hormone synthesis. Intriguingly, chronic kidney disease is associated with a stage-dependent increase in the circulating levels of FGF23, and FGF23 is a predictor of adverse outcomes and cardiovascular risk in patients with chronic kidney disease. Using genetically engineered mouse models in combination with disease models and state-of-the-art methods of molecular endocrinology and in situ expression profiling such as laser capture microdissection, the Erben group aims at elucidating further the associations between the vitamin D hormone system and cardiovascular function, and at understanding the pathophysiological role of FGF23 and Klotho in diseases characterized by FGF23 excess such as chronic kidney disease or X-linked hypophosphatemia. In addition, by employing marker tolerant animal models for long-term histological cell tracking as well as osteopenia models, the Erben group studies the mechanisms of bone and cartilage regeneration, the efficacy and safety of cell-based regenerative therapies, and the regulation of bone homeostasis by sex steroids.

Publications (short link)



Dr. Judith Radloff

Dr. Ute Zeitz

Dr. Ana Marek

PhD Students

Nejla Latic, Mag., DVM

Ana Zupcic, Mag., DVM

Bachelor/Master/Diploma students

Flora Klinger

Caroline Seidl

Danny Frauenstein

Sarah Gregor

Isabella Reitinger

Katharina Surböck

Publications (short link)

Cortical / Trabecular bone of a horse viewed under polarized light