Ambulatory and Endocrine Functions of the Bone

MAY 04, 2017
Amy Jacob

“The bone is an endocrine organ, and the nature of the function of bone was totally unknown until 10 years ago,” Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics and Development,Columbia University told MD Magazine at AACE 26th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress, in Austin, Texas. 
It was a surprise when it came out, and people were asking me, “But why is bone an endocrine organ?” According to Karsenty, in an evolutionary perspective, there is no difference between the ambulatory function and endocrine function of bone, because they provide the survival tools for animals living in the wild and in hostile conditions.
In terms of specific endocrine functions, bones favor glucose metabolism and homeostasis and are necessary for memory formation and for muscle function during exercise. Karsenty also explained that osteo-calcium is not only necessary to foster this function, but it’s also sufficient, and can improve this function in animals.
Karsenty highlighted, that for mankind and patients, this research means that, increasing muscle function at the age when people typically lose muscle function and improving memory loss is possible when increasing the level of the hormone. While it’s still very early in the process, he did say there are efforts made in partnerships in industry to develop osteo-calcium as a drug for very specific indications.
“This is probably more so geared toward the aging population, which is the largest population in developed countries. This hormone could improve life quality and lifestyle both in term of muscle, glucose metabolism, and memory.”
The aging population is the biggest faction of the population in developed countries and they come with a series of diseases that we did not anticipate: sarcopenia, the risk of fall, age related memory loss, etc. Having a drug that will either prevent the manifestations to develop or rescue them when they develop is really what these patients need, because public health burden is tremendous with this population. 

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