Bone Hormones Found To Affect Glucose Levels And Appetite

Most of us never think about bones affecting our appetite or glucose levels, but according to researcher Mathieu Ferron, they do.

Our bones produce hormones, including one called osteocalcin. This hormone allows the body to process sugar more easily, and helps metabolize fat. Ferron’s interest in osteocalcin was stirred by the hormone’s potential for protecting against the development of type 2 diabetes.

“One of osteocalcin's functions is to increase insulin production, which in turn reduces blood glucose levels,” said Ferron, of the Montreal Clinical Research Institute. “It can also protect us from obesity by increasing energy expenditure.”

Cells that make our bones, called osteoblasts, also produce osteocalcin. After building up within bone tissue, this hormone is eventually released into the bloodstream via a series of chemical reactions.

When first produced, osteocalcin is in an inactive form. Ferron and colleagues were interested in how the initial inactive form becomes active—ready to play its role when released. The answer turned out to be an enzyme that functions like a scissors.

The researchers noticed the active form of osteocalcin has one less piece than the inactive form. After examining the enzymes in cells producing osteocalcin they determined an enzyme called furin was responsible for snipping a piece off inactive osteocalcin, triggering its activation.

The team then demonstrated that without furin, inactive osteocalcin was still released, but the result was increased blood sugar, less insulin production, and less energy expenditure. They also realized the lack of furin caused an appetite reduction in lab animals, unrelated to osteocalcin.

“Our results suggest the existence of a new bone hormone that controls food intake,” Ferron said. “In future work, we hope to determine whether furin interacts with another protein involved in appetite regulation.”

Recently published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Ferron’s research may help create new ways of preventing type 2 diabetes, and obesity.

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: vuOng

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