Bone formation appears to be controlled by serotonin, a chemical previously known mainly for its entirely separate role in the brain, researchers are reporting. Osteoporosis affects 10 million Americans over age 50. It results in bone loss, and its hallmark is fragile bones that break easily.
But in a paper published online Wednesday in the journal Cell, a team led by Dr. Gerard Karsenty, chairman of the department of genetics and development at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, reports the discovery of an unexpected system that appears to control bone formation. At its heart is serotonin made by the gut rather than the brain, whose role outside the brain had been a mystery.
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