Provocative Evidence of Bone Acting As Endocrine Organ Presented at American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists 26th Annual Congress

Thursday, May 4, 2017 10:15 am EDT



AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A preeminent genetic researcher whose studies are profoundly altering thinking about the biology of bone and its possible role as an endocrine organ impacting whole-body physiology opened the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists’ (AACE) 26th Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress today with a summary of his research findings.

Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia School of Medicine, highlighted laboratory research that supports his long-standing hypothesis that the control of bone mass and energy metabolism is coordinated and that this coordination is done in large part by hormones that originate in bone.

Dr. Karsenty and his team of researchers have discovered through a series of experiments in mice that osteocalcin – a hormone made only in the bone cells that continuously build new bone (osteoblasts) – not only acts locally to influence bone formation, but also increases the production of insulin in the pancreas, raises the body's sensitivity to insulin and reduces stores of fat, playing a crucial role in regulating blood sugar.

Additional studies found that male mice that did not produce osteocalcin had abnormally low levels of testosterone and were sterile. Mice that produced high levels of osteocalcin, however, had more testosterone and bred more frequently, suggesting that bones play a crucial role in male reproduction.

More recently, Dr. Karsenty’s work suggests that osteocalcin crosses the blood-brain barrier and affects cognitive function. Mice that were engineered to be osteocalcin-deficient showed signs of increased anxiety and depression-like behaviors, as well as impaired memory and learning, compared to normal mice. However, when infused with osteocalcin, their moods improved and spatial memory and learning was improved.

While it remains to be seen how the study findings can be translated into relevant human therapies, the discovery of osteocalcin’s influence on body processes has significant implications for multiple conditions.

Dr. Karsenty will discuss highlights of his presentation during a press briefing on Thursday, May 4th, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the AACE Annual Congress Press Room, Austin Convention Center, Level 4, Room 14.

About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents more than 7,000 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. A majority of AACE members are certified in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. Visit our site at

About the American College of Endocrinology (ACE)

The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) is the educational and scientific arm of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). ACE is the leader in advancing the care and prevention of endocrine and metabolic disorders by: providing professional education and reliable public health information; recognizing excellence in education, research and service; promoting clinical research and defining the future of Clinical Endocrinology. For more information, please visit


American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
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