This site is intended for health professionals only

Bones ‘key to producing insulin’


Bones may contribute to a person developing diabetes, as they have been found to be crucial in regulating blood sugar, according to scientists.

The discovery, which provide better medication for the most common type 2 version of the disease, could also affect research into osteoporosis.

Published in the Cell journal, the findings suggest that bisphosphonates may increase the chances of the patient developing diabetes. Normally old bone is destroyed and new tissue takes its place, in a process known as resorption, but researchers in the US now say that this process is key to maintaining healthy levels of sugar in the blood – some osteoporosis drugs block resorption.

Resorption helps insulin get into the bloodstream and improves cells’ use of glucose.

The same group of researchers have already shown that osteocalcin bone releases a hormone which helps the body produce insulin and increases the amount of glucose in cells. The scientists say their latest study indicates that, without resorption, the osteocalcin process will not take place.

Dr Gerard Karsenty, from the University of Columbia in New York, who led the research, said: “This research has important implications for both diabetes and osteoporosis patients.”

Copyright Press Association 2010


Be in the know
Subscribe to Hospital Pharmacy Europe newsletter and magazine