Bone as an endocrine organ.

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Publication Date



Center for Clinical & Translational Research, Maine Medical Center Research Institute

Journal Title

Endocrine practice : official journal of the American College of Endocrinology and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

MeSH Headings

Bone and Bones, Endocrine Glands, Humans, Models, Biological


OBJECTIVE: To review the recent evidence that has emerged supporting the role of bone as an endocrine organ.

METHODS: This review will detail how bone has emerged as a bona fide endocrine "gland," and with that, the potential therapeutic implications that could be realized for this hormone-secreting tissue by detailing the evidence in the literature supporting this view.

RESULTS: The recent advances point to the skeleton as an endocrine organ that modulates glucose tolerance and testosterone production by secretion of the bone-specific protein osteocalcin.

CONCLUSIONS: Bone has classically been viewed as an inert structure that is necessary for mobility, calcium homeostasis, and maintenance of the hematopoietic niche. Recent advances in bone biology using complex genetic manipulations in mice have highlighted the importance of bone not only as a structural scaffold to support the human body, but also as a regulator of a number of metabolic processes that are independent of mineral metabolism.



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