Issue: 2013 > October > review

Bone as a regulator of glucose metabolism

A.G. Veldhuis-Vlug, E. Fliers, P.H. Bisschop


For a long time the only functions attributed to the
skeleton were locomotion and calcium storage. Over
the last decade, this view has changed. Genetic studies
in mice have shown that bone metabolism is regulated
by the autonomic nervous system and interacts with
energy metabolism and reproduction. Osteocalcin, one
of the main organic ingredients of the bone matrix, was discovered to stimulate insulin production by the pancreas, as well as energy expenditure and insulin
sensitivity. Administration of recombinant osteocalcin
to mice on a high fat diet decreased weight gain and
insulin resistance. These unanticipated results stimulated
studies on osteocalcin and glucose metabolism in humans. This review will discuss these clinical studies and their perspective for the future.