Serotonin: What the gut feeds the bones | Science News

Real Science. Real News.

Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


Feature

Serotonin: What the gut feeds the bones

Chemical messenger plays a surprising role in determining the strength of the skeleton

By
1:00pm, May 22, 2009

The hip bone is connected to the backbone. The backbone is connected to the neck bone. And lately, scientists have begun to think that all dem bones may be connected to the intestine — at least by biochemical signals. If the current evidence holds up, it means that a chemical better known for influencing the brain may also corrode the internal structure of the skeleton.

Such is the state of research into bone biology: “The more we understand, the more complex it gets,” says Clifford Rosen of the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough. Rosen is one of a growing number of researchers who think that the brain, intestine and skeleton are conducting an ongoing biochemical negotiation that affects the ebb and flow of tissue building inside bones. One of the chief currencies appears to be serotonin, a neurotransmitter most famous for its role in depression.

The idea that serotonin might be bad news for bones came as a surprise almost a deca

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content