Bone appétit!

How a bone hormone could help treat obesity

Last week’s Nature publication of a hormone secreted by bone that suppresses appetite and can curb weight gain not only adds to the emerging picture of bone as a player in the endocrine system but establishes a bone-brain axis as a new way to treat obesity.

Osteoblasts - the cells that make bone - are now recognized as major players in bone biology, with the ability to both make and release hormones. They are thought to play a role in metabolism because they secrete osteocalcin, which promotes energy expenditure, insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis, and FGF23, which regulates phosphate metabolism in the kidney.

Now, a group from Columbia University has added a third hormone to the list, LCN2, and shown it activates MC4R, a brain receptor that suppresses hunger by making people feel full.

Principal investigator Stavroula Kousteni told BioCentury that while the role

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