May 24, 2024
Bone Homeostasis

Unlocking the Potential: New Findings on Bone Homeostasis with Implications for Obesity and Osteoporosis Treatments

A groundbreaking study conducted by a team of researchers from The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has shed light on the intricate mechanisms behind the regulation of energy metabolism and bone homeostasis in mice. The findings from this study have promising implications for the development of novel treatments targeting obesity and osteoporosis. Led by Professor Billy Chow from the School of Biological Sciences (SBS), Faculty of Science, Professor Kelvin Yeung from the School of Clinical Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, and Professor Will Wei Qiao from the Faculty of Dentistry, along with their colleagues, the research has been published in Nature Communications, with Dr. Fengwei Zhang from SBS as the lead author.

The focal point of the research revolves around the discovery of the hormone secretin, which is primarily located within the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) of the brain. Contrary to conventional beliefs that secretin exclusively plays a role in the digestive system, the study reveals its pivotal function in controlling energy balance and bone density through the central nervous system.

Utilizing cutting-edge genetic techniques, the researchers manipulated the secretin signaling pathways in mice and unearthed significant results. Disruptions to secretin pathways in the VMH resulted in heightened appetite, metabolic irregularities, and a substantial loss in bone density. Conversely, enhancing secretin signals in the same region of the brain led to an increase in bone mass without impacting body weight or appetite.

Principal investigator Professor Chow emphasizes the transformative potential of this study, stating that it paves the way for innovative approaches to addressing metabolic and bone-related disorders. The ability to modulate appetite and bone density through brain-directed interventions holds considerable promise in combating conditions like obesity and osteoporosis.

Looking ahead, the research sets a solid foundation for the exploration of groundbreaking therapies targeting the brain to regulate body metabolism and bone health. The team is eager to delve deeper into the translational aspects of these findings to assess their relevance to human physiology and explore opportunities for drug development. With these profound insights, the path towards enhanced treatments for obesity and osteoporosis appears brighter than ever before.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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