Peptide YY regulates bone remodeling in mice: a link between gut and skeletal biology

PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40038. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040038. Epub 2012 Jul 6.


Background & aims: Gastrointestinal peptides are increasingly being linked to processes controlling the maintenance of bone mass. Peptide YY (PYY), a gut-derived satiety peptide of the neuropeptide Y family, is upregulated in some states that also display low bone mass. Importantly, PYY has high affinity for Y-receptors, particularly Y1R and Y2R, which are known to regulate bone mass. Anorexic conditions and bariatric surgery for obesity influence circulating levels of PYY and have a negative impact on bone mass, but the precise mechanism behind this is unclear. We thus examined whether alterations in PYY expression affect bone mass.

Methods: Bone microstructure and cellular activity were analyzed in germline PYY knockout and conditional adult-onset PYY over-expressing mice at lumbar and femoral sites using histomorphometry and micro-computed tomography.

Results: PYY displayed a negative relationship with osteoblast activity. Male and female PYY knockout mice showed enhanced osteoblast activity, with greater cancellous bone mass. Conversely, PYY over-expression lowered osteoblast activity in vivo, via a direct Y1 receptor mediated mechanism involving MAPK stimulation evident in vitro. In contrast to PYY knockout mice, PYY over expression also altered bone resorption, as indicated by greater osteoclast surface, despite the lack of Y-receptor expression in osteoclastic cells. While evident in both sexes, cellular changes were generally more pronounced in females.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that the gut peptide PYY is critical for the control of bone remodeling. This regulatory axis from the intestine to bone has the potential to contribute to the marked bone loss observed in situations of extreme weight loss and higher circulating PYY levels, such as anorexia and bariatric obesity surgery, and may be important in the maintenance of bone mass in the general population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density / genetics
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Bone Resorption / genetics
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Order
  • Gene Targeting
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Organ Size / genetics
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteogenesis / genetics
  • Peptide YY / genetics
  • Peptide YY / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Peptide YY