Researchers led by Columbia University Medical Center have discovered that the skeleton plays an important role in regulating blood sugar and have further illuminated how bone controls this process. The finding, published in Cell, is important because it may lead to more targeted drugs for type 2 diabetes.
Led by Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University Medical Center, the researchers found that the destruction of old bone during normal skeletal regrowth – a process known as resorption – is necessary to maintain a healthy level of glucose in the blood.
While resorption is a process that occurs throughout life to make way for new bone, Dr. Karsenty’s team discovered that it also acts to stimulate the release of insulin into the bloodstream and improve the uptake of glucose by cells in the entire body.
The findings suggest that, for some people, diabetes may develop from changes in the skeleton, and that drugs designed to stimulate the bone-insulin pathway may lead to better drugs for type 2 diabetes.