Increased bone formation in osteocalcin-deficient mice

Nature. 1996 Aug 1;382(6590):448-52. doi: 10.1038/382448a0.


Vertebrates constantly remodel bone. The resorption of preexisting bone by osteoclasts and the formation of new bone by osteoblasts is strictly coordinated to maintain bone mass within defined limits. A few molecular determinants of bone remodelling that affect osteoclast activity have been characterized, but the molecular determinants of osteoblast activity are unknown. To investigate the role of osteocalcin, the most abundant osteoblast-specific non-collagenous protein, we have generated osteocalcin-deficient mice. These mice develop a phenotype marked by higher bone mass and bones of improved functional quality. Histomorphometric studies done before and after ovariectomy showed that the absence of osteocalcin leads to an increase in bone formation without impairing bone resorption. To our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence that osteocalcin is a determinant of bone formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Development / physiology*
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology*
  • Bone Resorption
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology
  • Bone and Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Calcification, Physiologic
  • Cell Line
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Female
  • Gene Targeting
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mutation
  • Osteocalcin / deficiency
  • Osteocalcin / genetics
  • Osteocalcin / physiology*
  • Radiography
  • Tetracycline


  • Osteocalcin
  • Tetracycline