Central RANK signalling in NPY neurons alters bone mass in male mice

Neuropeptides. 2018 Apr:68:75-83. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2018.02.004. Epub 2018 Feb 15.


RANKL signalling known to be important for the control of bone mass, has recently also been implicated in the brain to control thermoregulation, however, it is not known which neuronal pathways are involved and whether other aspects of energy homeostasis are also affected. Here we show that selective deletion of RANK from NPY neurons down-regulated NPY mRNA expression in the hypothalamus. While comprehensive phenotyping of germline-induced NPY neuron specific RANK deficient mice revealed no significant changes in physical or metabolic parameters, adult onset deletion of RANK from NPY neurons led to a significant increase in fat mass and a decrease in whole body bone mineral content and bone mineral density. Intriguingly, when these conditional knockout mice were placed on a high fat diet, body weight and fat mass did not differ to control mice. However, they were able to significantly increase their bone mass to match their increased body weight, an ability that was lacking in control mice. Taken together, results from this study demonstrate that RANK signalling in NPY neurons is involved in modulating NPY levels and through that matching bone mass to body weight.

Keywords: Bone; NPY; RANK; RANKL.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Eating
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptide Y / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Neuropeptide Y
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • Tnfrsf11a protein, mouse