Intermittent injections of osteocalcin improve glucose metabolism and prevent type 2 diabetes in mice

Bone. 2012 Feb;50(2):568-75. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2011.04.017. Epub 2011 Apr 29.


The uncarboxylated form of the osteoblast-specific secreted molecule osteocalcin is a hormone favoring glucose handling and increasing energy expenditure. As a result, the absence of osteocalcin leads to glucose intolerance in mice, while genetically modified mice with an increase in uncarboxylated osteocalcin are protected from type 2 diabetes and obesity. Here, we tested in the mouse the therapeutic potential of intermittent administration of osteocalcin. We found that daily injections of osteocalcin at either 3 or 30 ng/g/day significantly improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in mice fed a normal diet. This was attributable, in part, to an increase in both β-cell mass and insulin secretion. When mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD), daily injections of osteocalcin partially restored insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Moreover, mice treated with intermittent osteocalcin injections displayed additional mitochondria in their skeletal muscle, had increased energy expenditure and were protected from diet-induced obesity. Finally, the hepatic steatosis induced by the HFD was completely rescued in mice receiving osteocalcin daily. Overall, these results provide evidence that daily injections of osteocalcin can improve glucose handling and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Fatty Liver / complications
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Fatty Liver / prevention & control
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Osteocalcin / administration & dosage*
  • Osteocalcin / pharmacology
  • Osteocalcin / therapeutic use*


  • Insulin
  • Osteocalcin
  • Glucose