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Bone density may be determined in the gut

Gut-derived serotonin regulates bone growth in mice

11:20am, November 26, 2008

Serotonin produced in the gut may have a major role in bone formation. Too much of the gut-derived hormone in mice leads to weak bones, while too little causes  bones to be too dense, a new study shows. The results, published in the Nov. 28 Cell, may lead to new treatments for  bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.

The finding that serotonin may regulate bone mass is “a fabulous discovery,” comments Matthew Warman, a physician researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston who studies bone diseases. “It was completely unexpected that a  gut hormone would have such a strong effect on bone mass.” 

Serotonin is known for its role inside the human brain: The small hormone regulates mood, learning and sleep. But 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut and never crosses the blood-brain barrier. This massive supply of serotonin regulates the day-to-day operations of the gut, including the rhythmic contr
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