PHYSIOLOGY: A Skeleton in Leptin's Closet

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Science  04 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5454, pp. 769f
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5454.769f

Osteoporosis is one of the most common diseases in the Western world and is increasing in prevalence as the population ages. The development of effective treatments depends on a better understanding of the factors that regulate bone formation and remodeling. Ducy et al. challenge the prevailing view that bone mass is largely determined by factors that are produced locally in the bone microenvironment. In studies using mouse models, they find that the hormone leptin is a selective inhibitor of bone formation and that this effect is mediated through the central nervous system. Leptin's effect on bone appears to be independent of its celebrated role in the control of body weight. These results, while offering a new direction for the design of therapies for osteoporosis, also serve as a cautionary note about anti-obesity therapies that are based on stimulation of leptin activity.—PAK

Cell 100, 197 (2000).

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