Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain controls formation of bone, researchers find

Date:
December 23, 2009
Source:
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Summary:
The brain acts as a profound regulatory center, controlling myriad processes throughout the body in ways we are only just beginning to understand. In new findings, Australian scientists have shown surprising connections between the brain and regulation of bone mass.

The brain acts as a profound regulatory centre, controlling myriad processes throughout the body in ways we are only just beginning to understand. In new findings, Australian scientists have shown surprising connections between the brain and regulation of bone mass.

One of the key functions of our skeletons is to provide mechanical support. In order to fulfil this role, bone tissue is modified throughout our lives, in response to changing activity levels and body weight. Bone mass increases as we gain weight and decreases as we lose it.

The new findings show that bone formation, far from being a straightforward mechanical process dependent on body weight, is delicately orchestrated by the brain, which sends and receives signals through the body's neural and hormone systems.

It is now clear that the neural network which controls appetite and energy also alters bone density. When we are starving, our brains don't allow us to waste energy by reproducing, making fat or creating new bone. When we are eating too much, on the other hand, our brains make it easier to reproduce, store fat and create bone.

Dr Paul Baldock, a neuroscientist from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, has demonstrated in mice that the neurotransmitter Neuropeptide Y (NPY) directly controls osteoblasts, the cells that make bone. His findings are published in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS ONE). "It has always been thought that changes in bone mass are purely mechanical -- you get heavier and your bones get denser to support the increased load," said Baldock.

"While that's true to some extent, our findings show a sophisticated central surveillance system at work. It's as if the brain, as boss, sends out a global memo saying 'make more bone'."

"Bone-making cells at local level appear to have the ability to fine-tune this directive, like office workers saying 'we're not going to waste time putting on bone here when it's needed more over there'."

"So what happens in practice is that places exposed to more load put on more bone, while those exposed to less load put on less bone."

All the intricate central processing takes place in the hypothalamus, a small yet complex region of the brain that links the nervous and hormone systems.

According to Baldock, the NPY system in the brain evolved to allow survival of humans during very lean times as well as plenty. "In evolutionary terms, people are kept alive so that they can reproduce, and body systems are all integrated to preserve that function."

"I have no doubt that osteoporosis treatments of the future will find a safe way to block NPY receptors on osteoblasts," said Baldock.

"Obviously, the development of such treatments would have to take account of all the processes affected by the NPY system -- including appetite and mood. You'd need something that increased bone mass without also making people fat, skinny, sad or angry at the same time."

As a first step, Baldock is showing the orthopaedic relevance of his findings at the Children's hospital at Westmead, where he is collaborating with an orthopaedic surgeon, Associate Professor David Little.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Baldock et al. Neuropeptide Y Knockout Mice Reveal a Central Role of NPY in the Coordination of Bone Mass to Body Weight. PLoS ONE, 2009; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008415

Cite This Page:

Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "Brain controls formation of bone, researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091222105451.htm>.
Garvan Institute of Medical Research. (2009, December 23). Brain controls formation of bone, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091222105451.htm
Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "Brain controls formation of bone, researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091222105451.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins