Is there any relation between bone mass and hunger?


Do you know that there is a relation between the level of your hunger and bone mass? In a recent study, the researchers of Yale School of Medicine has found that a cluster of neurons in the brain, which controls human appetite, is also involved in generating the bone mass. This particular cluster neuron is called AgRP (agouti-related peptide neuron), present in the hypothalamus (a part of the brain).

The study is published in the Journal of Cell Reports, September 24, 2015.

Agrp neurons are responsible for controlling the hunger (feeding) and compulsive behaviors. In the study, the researchers used the mice, which were genetically engineered so that their cells can selectively interfere with the neurons (AgRP). The researchers observed a significant bone loss and osteopenia (equivalent to osteoporosis in women) in the mice when the AgRP were weakened or damaged. They also observed an improved bone mass on enhancing the AgRP neuronal activity in the mice.

This study gives a clear indication that the level of your hunger can effect on your bone structure. Surprisingly, the researchers discovered that the AgRP neuron effects independently on the bone mass and, it is not linked to the activities of hormone Leptin. (Leptin is also known as satiety hormone, which helps balance energy by inhibiting the hunger). Therefore, the study concludes that the less hungry you are, the lower the bone mass you have.

The researchers also said that there are various mechanisms through which AgRP system can impact bone density, acting on the thyroid, adrenal and gonad systems. However, to make it valid, further studies are needed to assess the effects of hormonal control on theAgRP activities.

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