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Discov Med. 2011 Mar;11(58):179-85.

Temperatures rising: brown fat and bone.

Author information

1
Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, 81 Research Drive, Portland, Maine 04074, USA.

Abstract

Caloric restriction is associated with a reduction in body weight and temperature, as well as a reduction in trabecular bone volume and paradoxically an increase in adipocytes within the bone marrow. The nature of these adipocytes is uncertain, although there is emerging evidence of a direct relationship between bone remodeling and brown adipocytes. For example, in heterotrophic ossification, brown adipocytes set up a hypoxic gradient that leads to vascular invasion, chondrocyte differentiation, and subsequent bone formation. Additionally, deletion of retinoblastoma protein in an osteosarcoma model leads to increased hibernoma (brown fat tumor). Brown adipose tissue (BAT) becomes senescent with age at a time when thermoregulation is altered, bone loss becomes apparent, and sympathetic activity increases. Interestingly, heart rate is an unexpected but good predictor of fracture risk in elderly individuals, pointing to a key role for the sympathetic nervous system in senile osteoporosis. Hence the possibility exists that BAT could play an indirect role in age-related bone loss. However, evidence of an indirect effect from thermogenic dysfunction on bone loss is currently limited. Here, we present current evidence for a relationship between brown adipose tissue and bone as well as provide novel insights into the effects of thermoregulation on bone mineral density.

PMID:
21447277
PMCID:
PMC3629549
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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