Project III

Heterogeneity in osteoclast formation and proteolytic enzymes in retinoid treated mice.

Viktė Lionikaitė

My name is Viktė Lionikaitė and I am the Early Stage Researcher at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. I was born in Kaunas, Lithuania but have spent most of my life abroad living in Sweden, the United States and the United Kingdom.

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Sports and Exercise Science at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland with my dissertation focusing on the genetic factors underlying the variability in bone mineral content in an outbred stock of mice. I like to spend my free time outdoors or doing gymnastics. My email address is

Ulf Lerner

I am Ulf Lerner, the PI and supervisor for Viktė. My interest in bone dates back to the seventies when I, as a dentist, became interested in why patients with periodontal disease lose jaw bone surrounding the teeth. Since then, I have been working with inflammatory and hormonal regulation of osteoclasts and osteoblasts in bone organ and cell cultures at the University of Umeå. I joined the Centre for Bone and Arthritis Research group in Gothenburg five years ago where I, together with Petra, started up a cell- and molecular biology unit.

My main interests are still in the field of inflammation and bone but also in regulation of bone cells by retinoids and glucocorticoids. We also run a project studying the effect of cysteine proteinase inhibitors on osteoclast differentiation. When not at the lab, I spend a lot of time outdoors bird watching, fishing and hunting. My email address is

Petra Henning

I am Petra Henning, the co-supervisor for Viktė. I have worked with bone cells for five years together with Ulf in Gothenburg. Besides the vitamin A studies, that is part of Viktė’s PhD studies, I am involved in several different projects with studies of Wnt16 being the major one.

I started my scientific journey as a technician 20 years ago and soon realized that I preferred research to diagnostics. I did my PhD in medical microbiology and my thesis was devoted to construction and evaluation of adenoviral gene therapy vectors for cancer therapy and vaccine development. My main knowledge is in molecular and cell biology techniques and I work mostly with in vitro cultured human and mouse osteoclasts. My email address is

Our Project

Vitamin A is obtained from the diet and is important for normal bone growth and development.  However, an elevated level of vitamin A is considered a risk factor for osteoporosis and fractures. The underlying mechanisms for this are unknown.

In our project we will investigate the role of vitamin A (retinol) in bone remodelling. We will use a mouse model to investigate how different serum levels of retinol affect bone mass and quality, number and activity of osteoclasts and osteoblasts, gene expression in osteoclasts at different skeletal sites, anabolic response to loading, and bone mass. For these studies we will use mice deficient for different retinoid receptor subtypes. In an in vitro model, we will use osteoclast progenitors, primarily from human peripheral blood, in order to investigate how retinoids affect differentiation and function of human osteoclasts.

Our address is:
Centre for Bone and Arthritis Research, CBAR
Inst. Medicine
Sahlgrenska Academy
University of Gothenburg
SE-413 45 Göteborg

Viktė Lionikaitė

Petra Henning, Viktė Lionikaitė and Ulf Lerner