Osteocalcin: Bone Protein, Messenger, Regulator of Crucial Processes
Researchers are discovering that bones issue numerous commands to distant cells and that they have direct impact on mood and memory in mice. Gerard Karsenty, chair of the department of genetics and development at Columbia University Medical Center, has studied osteocalcin, a mysterious protein found in heavy concentration in bones, for two decades. He and colleagues have found that mice lacking osteocalcin were apathetic, anxious, depressed, and performed poorly on spatial memory tasks. They also had fat bellies, trouble reproducing and were likely to be diabetic. Early research suggests osteocalcin may play a similar role for humans. Karsenty says "no organ is an island” in the interconnected and networked human body, and if body chemicals communicate with bones, there's no reason bones shouldn't talk back. Read the NewYorker story by Amanda Schaffer.