Common endocrine control of body weight, reproduction, and bone mass

Annu Rev Nutr. 2003;23:403-11. doi: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.23.011702.073312. Epub 2003 Apr 18.


Bone mass is maintained constant between puberty and menopause by the balance between osteoblast and osteoclast activity. The existence of a hormonal control of osteoblast activity has been speculated for years by analogy to osteoclast biology. Through the search for such humoral signal(s) regulating bone formation, leptin has been identified as a strong inhibitor of bone formation. Furthermore, intracerebroventricular infusion of leptin has shown that the effect of this adipocyte-derived hormone on bone is mediated via a brain relay. Subsequent studies have led to the identification of hypothalamic groups of neurons involved in leptin's antiosteogenic function. In addition, those neurons or neuronal pathways are distinct from neurons responsible for the regulation of energy metabolism. Finally, the peripheral mediator of leptin's antiosteogenic function has been identified as the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathomimetics administered to mice decreased bone formation and bone mass. Conversely, beta-blockers increased bone formation and bone mass and blunted the bone loss induced by ovariectomy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Endocrine System / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Leptin / pharmacology*
  • Leptin / physiology*
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology


  • Leptin