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FSH Increases Bone Resorption

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Science  05 May 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5774, pp. 661
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5774.661c

Osteoporosis, a decrease in bone mass, is a common condition affecting postmenopausal women and is due at least in part to decreased estrogen. Sun et al. show that follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), a pituitary hormone that regulates estrogen production, has a direct effect on bone mass by stimulating the differentiation and resorptive activity of osteoclasts. The cells that degrade and resorb bone are osteoclasts, whereas osteoblasts are the bone-depositing cells. Mice deficient for FSHβ or the FSH receptor were hypogonadal and exhibited many symptoms of estrogen deficiency, yet had normal bone mass. Heterozygous mice (FSHβ+/−) had a 50% reduction in circulating FSHβ and showed decreased bone resorption, decreased abundance of circulating tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (a marker of osteoclast activity), and decreased expression of osteoclast markers in bone marrow, all of which are consistent with the observed increase in bone density. In cultured cells, FSH stimulated osteoclastogenesis by stimulating differentiation, but not proliferation, and enhanced the resorptive activity of individual osteoclasts. These results point to a direct estrogen-independent effect of FSH on bone density and a crucial role for this hormone in postmenopausal osteoporosis. — NRG

Cell 125, 247 (2006).

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