Our skeleton supports our muscles and other tissues as well. Moreover, it generates hormones. The researcher at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) and professor at Université de Montréal’s Faculty of Medicine studied an Osteocalcin hormone that affects how we metabolize sugar and fat.
Mathieu Ferron, director at the IRCM said, “Our hormones can affect bones. Just think about how women are more prone to suffer from osteoporosis when they reach menopause because their estrogen levels drop.”
“One of the osteocalcin’s functions is to increase insulin production, which in turn reduces blood glucose levels. It can also protect us from obesity by increasing energy expenditure.”
Although, the osteoblasts, cells that make up our bones is responsible for producing Osteocalcin. The hormone builds up in bone, and then, through a series of chemical reactions, is released into the blood.
Ferron said, “While integration process into the osteoblasts, it is in an inactive form. What interested us was understanding how osteocalcin becomes active so as to be able to play its role when released into the blood.”
Scientists found that the enzyme, that mimics as molecular scissors, is essential. When examining it in mice, the different enzymes present in cells where osteocalcin was produced that could be responsible for snipping off the piece in question.
They found that it happens due to furin that causes osteocalcin to become active and the hormone is then released into the blood.
Ferron said, “We demonstrated that when there was no furin in bone cells, inactive osteocalcin built up and was still released, but this led to an increase in blood glucose levels and a reduction in energy expenditure and insulin production.”
“Deleting these “scissors” also had an unexpected effect: it reduced the mice’s appetite. We’re confident that the absence of furin was the cause.”
“Indeed, the osteocalcin itself has no effect on appetite. Our results suggest the existence of a new bone hormone that controls food intake.”