Insulin, osteoblasts, and energy metabolism: why bone counts calories
J. Clin. Invest.124(4): 1465-1467 (2014). Ryan C. Riddle
Recent studies have demonstrated that insulin stimulates bone cells to produce and activate osteocalcin, an endocrine hormone that increases the efficiency of glucose metabolism through its actions on the pancreas and other peripheral tissues. In this issue of the JCI, Wei and colleagues directly explore the contribution of insulin signaling in osteoblasts to the disturbances in whole-body glucose metabolism associated with a high-fat diet. In mice fed a high-fat diet, increased uptake of saturated fatty acids by the osteoblast accelerates the ubiquitination and degradation of the insulin receptor. In this setting, impairments in osteoblast insulin signaling reduce serum levels of undercarboxylated osteocalcin, which in turn exacerbate insulin resistance in muscle and white adipose tissue. These findings underscore the importance of insulin-responsive skeletal cells as components of a newly appreciated endocrine network critical for regulating global energy homeostasis.
Bone-specific insulin resistance disrupts whole-body glucose homeostasis via decreased osteocalcin activation
Jianwen Wei J Clin Invest. 2014;124(4):1781–1793. doi:10.1172/JCI72323.
Insulin signaling in osteoblasts has been shown recently to contribute to whole-body glucose homeostasis in animals fed a normal diet; however, it is unknown whether bone contributes to the insulin resistance that develops in animals challenged by a high-fat diet (HFD). Here, we evaluated the consequences of osteoblast-specific overexpression of or loss of insulin receptor in HFD-fed mice. We determined that the severity of glucose intolerance and insulin resistance that mice develop when fed a HFD is in part a consequence of osteoblast-dependent insulin resistance. Insulin resistance in osteoblasts led to a decrease in circulating levels of the active form of osteocalcin, thereby decreasing insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle. Insulin resistance developed in osteoblasts as the result of increased levels of free saturated fatty acids, which promote insulin receptor ubiquitination and subsequent degradation. Together, these results underscore the involvement of bone, among other tissues, in the disruption of whole-body glucose homeostasis resulting from a HFD and the involvement of insulin and osteocalcin cross-talk in glucose intolerance. Furthermore, our data indicate that insulin resistance develops in bone as the result of lipotoxicity-associated loss of insulin receptors.
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