Send to

Choose Destination
J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2006 Jan-Mar;6(1):87-95.

Deletions of genes encoding calcitonin/alpha-CGRP, amylin and calcitonin receptor have given new and unexpected insights into the function of calcitonin receptors and calcitonin receptor-like receptors in bone.

Author information

Department of Oral Cell Biology, Umea University, Umea, Sweden.


It has been suggested that skeletal nerves fibers may play important roles in neuro-osteogenic interactions. This view is partly based upon information obtained from immunohistochemical studies, chemical and surgical denervation experiments and clinical observations in patients with stroke and spinal cord injury, indicating the presence of a network of nerve fibers in the skeleton and that defective signalling in skeletal nerve fibers affects remodelling of bone. This view is also supported by data showing that functional receptors for signalling molecules in skeletal nerve fibers are expressed in bone cells and that activation of these receptors leads to profound effects on bone forming osteoblasts and bone resorbing osteoclasts. Convincing evidence for a role of neuronal signalling in bone metabolism has been provided by gene deletion approaches in which it has been shown that leptin-sensitive and neuropeptide Y-sensitive receptors in hypothalamus are important for bone remodelling in mice. Recently, gene deletion experiments have shown that calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), one of the neuropeptides present in skeletal nerve fibers, is an important physiological regulator of bone formation at the level of osteoblast activity. CGRP belongs to the calcitonin (CT) family of peptides also including CT, amylin and adrenomedullin, as well as the recently described intermedin and calcitonin receptor-stimulating peptide. These peptides utilize two seven transmembrane G protein-coupled receptors - the calcitonin receptor (CTR) and the calcitonin receptor- like receptor (CRLR) - which can dimerize with three different single transmembrane proteins, making up the RAMP family. Associations between RAMPs and either CTR or CRLR give rise to seven distinct, molecularly characterized, receptors for CT, CGRP, amylin and adrenomedullin. Deletions of the genes for ligands in the CT family of peptides and for one of the receptors have revealed unexpected findings that have changed our view on the role of these peptides in bone remodelling. It was anticipated that deletions of the CT/alpha-CGRP and CTR genes would lead to bone loss, since CT has been shown to inhibit bone resorption in vitro and in vivo and has been used to treat patients with excessive bone resorption. Surprisingly, it was found that CT/alpha-CGRP-/- and CTR+/- mice have increased bone mass due to increased bone formation. Mice with deletion of the amylin gene, however, exhibited bone loss due to enhanced bone resorption. Selective deletion of the alpha-CGRP gene also leads to bone loss, but due to decreased bone formation. Thus, our understanding of the role of the CT family of peptides has been changed dramatically and much more data have to be gained before we fully understand the roles these peptides have in bone biology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for International Society of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions
Loading ...
Support Center