Bone cells known as osteoblasts were recently shown to have a role in controlling the biochemical reactions that generate energy via secretion of the molecule osteocalcin. A team of researchers, led by Stavroula Kousteni, at Columbia University, New York, has now determined that the protein FoxO1 regulates this function of osteoblasts in mice.

Specifically, FoxO1 increases expression of osteocalcin and decreases expression of Esp, a gene that makes a protein responsible for decreasing the bioactivity of osteocalcin.

This is a new role for FoxO1, which is also involved in regulating glucose levels via effects on cells in the pancreas and liver.

The research is reported in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Journal Reference:

Marie-Therese Rached, Aruna Kode, Barbara C. Silva, Dae Young Jung, Susan Gray, Helena Ong, Ji-Hye Paik, Ronald A. Depinho, Jason K. Kim, Gerard Karsenty and Stavroula Kousteni. "FoxO1 expression in osteoblasts regulates glucose homeostasis through regulation of osteocalcin in mice." Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2009; DOI: 10.1172/JCI39901