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Johns Hopkins Orthopaedic Surgery - Is the Skeleton Talking to the Body?

Johns Hopkins Orthopaedic Surgery Spring 2015

Is the Skeleton Talking to the Body?

Date: May 18, 2015

Over the last decade, a small cadre of researchers, including Johns Hopkins bone biologists Thomas Clemens and Ryan Riddle, have been finding intriguing new evidence that bone may be doing far more than serving as a coat hanger for the body. “Bone isn’t simply off by itself providing structural support for all the other organs,” says Riddle. “It’s communicating with them, and now we are trying to figure out what those communication pathways are.”

In just one recent example, Riddle and colleagues studied mice with mutations in a molecule found to affect bone cells and observed that the mutation affected not only bone mass, but also energy expenditure and body fat. Their work could eventually lead to treatments that increase or reduce bone mass, reduce fat accumulation, or improve metabolic diseases.

Hear Riddle describe a molecular pathway behind this work at

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