NeuropeptideY–, Y2 receptor (Y2)-, and leptin-deficient mice show similar anabolic action in cancellous bone but have not been assessed in cortical bone. Cortical bone mass is elevated in Y2−/− mice through greater osteoblast activity. In contrast, leptin deficiency results in reduced bone mass. We show opposing central regulation of cortical bone.
Introduction: Treatment of osteoporosis is confounded by a lack of agents capable of stimulating the formation of bone by osteoblasts. Recently, the brain has been identified as a potent anabolic regulator of bone formation. Hypothalamic leptin or Y2 receptor signaling are known to regulate osteoblast activity in cancellous bone. However, assessment of these pathways in the structural cortical bone is critical to understanding their role in skeletal health and their potential clinical relevance to osteoporosis and its treatment.
Materials and Methods: Long bones of 16-week male ob/ob and germline and hypothalamic Y2−/− mice were assessed by QCT. Cortical osteoblast activity was assessed histologically.
Results: The femora of skeletally mature Y2−/− mice and of leptin-deficient ob/ob and Y2−/−ob/ob mice were assessed for changes in cortical osteoblast activity and bone mass. Ablation of Y2 receptors increased osteoblast activity on both endosteal and periosteal surfaces, independent of leptin, resulting in increased cortical bone mass and density in Y2−/− mice along the entire femur. Importantly, these changes were evident after deletion of hypothalamic Y2 receptors in adult mice, with a 5-fold elevation in periosteal bone formation. This is in marked contrast to leptin-deficient models that displayed reduced cortical mass and density. These changes were associated with substantial differences in calculated strength between the Y2−/− and leptin-deficient mice.
Conclusions: These results indicate that the Y2-mediated anabolic pathway stimulates cortical and cancellous bone formation, whereas the leptin-mediated pathway has opposing effects in cortical and cancellous bone, diminishing the production of cortical bone. The findings from conditional hypothalamic Y2 knockout show a novel, inducible control mechanism for cortical bone formation and a potential new pathway for anabolic treatment of osteoporosis.