Bone and the regulation of global energy balance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The skeleton, populated by large numbers of osteoblasts and long-lived osteocytes, requires a constant supply of energy-rich molecules to fuel the synthesis, deposition and mineralization of bone matrix during bone modelling and remodelling. When these energetic demands are not met, bone acquisition is suppressed. Recent findings suggest that key developmental signals emanating from Wnt low-density lipoprotein-related receptor 5 and hypoxia-inducible factor pathways impact osteoblast bioenergetics to accommodate the energy requirements for bone cells to fulfil their function. In vivo studies in several mutant mouse strains have confirmed a link between bone cells and global metabolism, ultimately leading to the identification of hormonal interactions between the skeleton and other tissues. The hormones insulin and leptin affect postnatal bone acquisition, whilst osteocalcin produced by the osteoblast in turn stimulates insulin secretion by the pancreas. These observations have prompted additional questions regarding the nature of the mechanisms of fuel sensing and processing in the osteoblast and their contribution to overall energy utilization and homeostasis. Answers to such questions should advance our understanding of metabolic diseases and may ultimately improve management of affected patients. In this review, we highlight recent studies in this field and offer a perspective on the evolutionary implications of bone as a metabolic endocrine organ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)681-689
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Genetic mouse models
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Osteoblasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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