Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Our Bones Can Make Us Fat?
Gerard Karsenty and his team of molecular geneticists discovered that there is a hormone that the skeleton releases that helps the body store fat and maintain blood sugar levels; the skeletal system is not just structural as most people think. To test their ideas, they engineered a strain of mice lacking a protein and hormone called osteocalcin. The research found that most of the plump mice were also diabetic with high levels of glucose in the blood, and the thin mice tended to produce more osteocalcin and secreted more insulin. The thin mice also produced other hormones that aid in the insulin secretion. These factors prevented the thin mice from developing diabetes and obesity, opposed to the mice that were deficient in osteocalcin. His results lead to the idea that injections of osteocalcin may ease the symptoms of diabetes in humans based on the studies with mice. The increase in osteocalcin can be used to regulate metabolism, which may one day be used to treat and prevent obesity and diabetes.