A significant study, “Mediation of the acute stress response by the skeleton,” was published Sept. 12 in Cell Metabolism. “It completely changes how we think about how acute stress responses occur,” reported senior investigator Gérard Karsenty, MD, Ph.D
When faced with a predator or sudden danger, the heart rate goes up, breathing becomes more rapid, and fuel in the form of glucose is pumped throughout the body to prepare an animal to fight or flee. These physiological changes, which constitute the “fight or flight” response, are thought to be triggered in part by the hormone adrenaline.
The researchers found that almost immediately after the brain recognizes danger, it instructs the skeleton to flood the bloodstream with the bone-derived hormone osteocalcin, which is needed to turn on the fight or flight response. Osteocalcin is linked to metabolism, fertility, muscle function, and even brain cognition.
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