Bone regulators moonlight in the brain as fever inducers | Science News


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Bone regulators moonlight in the brain as fever inducers

Study in mice suggests proteins could be source of post-menopausal hot flashes

2:37pm, November 25, 2009

Beauty may be only skin deep, but hot goes to the bone.

Proteins involved in breaking down bones are also part of the body’s thermostat, a new study shows. The proteins — a receptor called RANK and the protein that binds to it, called RANKL — turn up the heat to cause fever during infections and also help regulate daily temperature rhythms in female rodents, a study published in the Nov. 26 Nature shows.

And the proteins, which are involved in osteoporosis, may also be a source of the hot flashes that post-menopausal women experience.

Scientists already knew that RANK and RANKL team up to help tear down bones. That demolition is part of the normal maintenance of bones in the body and in pregnant women, it also helps free up calcium that in turn is used to solidify the baby’s bones. The proteins are also part of the signaling pathway that prompts lactation. After menopause, the bone remodeling system may take tearing down too

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