Skeleton (bones) helps control sugar metabolism and weight, and it is found to be a major determinant of the development of type 2 diabetes, revealed by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center.
The research, published in the August 10 issue of Cell, demonstrates that bone cells release a hormone called osteocalcin, which controls the regulation of blood sugar (glucose) and fat deposition through synergistic mechanisms previously not recognized.
Usually, an increase in insulin secretion is accompanied by a decrease in insulin sensitivity. Osteocalcin, however, increases both the secretion and sensitivity of insulin, in addition to boosting the number of insulin-producing cells and reducing stores of fat.
In this published research, authors show that an increase in osteocalcin activity prevents the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity in mice. This discovery potentially opens the door for novel therapeutic avenues for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.
?The discovery that our bones are responsible for regulating blood sugar in ways that were not known before completely changes our understanding of the function of the skeleton and uncovers a crucial aspect of energy metabolism,? said Gerard Karsenty, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University Medical Center, Paul Marks Professor in the Basic Sciences, and senior author of the paper. ?These results uncover an important aspect of endocrinology that was unappreciated until now.?
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the American Diabetes Association, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The researchers are now examining the role of osteocalcin in the regulation of blood sugar in humans and are continuing investigations into the relationship between osteocalcin and the appearance of type 2 diabetes and obesity.