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Identification of a Central Neural Circuit that Regulates Anxiety-induced Bone Loss

By Fan Yang, Yunhui Liu, Shanping Chen, Zhongquan Dai, Dazhi Yang, Dashuang Gao, Jie Shao, Yuyao Wang, Ting Wang, Zhijian Zhang, Lu Zhang, William W Lu, Jie Tu, Yinghui Li, Liping Wang

Posted 21 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/812875

The homeostasis of bone metabolism is finely regulated by the central nervous system and recent studies have suggested that mood disorders, such as anxiety, are closely related to bone metabolic abnormalities; however, our understanding of central neural circuits regulating bone metabolism is still largely limited. In this study, we first demonstrate that confined isolation of human participants under normal gravity resulted in decreased bone density and elevated anxiety levels. We then used an established mouse model to dissect the neural circuitry regulating anxiety-induced bone loss. Combining electrophysiological, optogenetic and chemogenetic approaches, we demonstrate that GABAergic neural circuitry in ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) modulates anxiety-induced bone loss; importantly, the GABAergic input in VMHdm arose from a specific group of somatostatin neurons in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), which is both indispensable for anxiety-induced bone loss and able to trigger bone loss in the absence of stressors. VGLUT2 neurons in Nucleus tractus solitaries (NTS) and peripheral sympathetic system were employed by this BNST-VMH neural circuit to regulate anxiety-induced bone loss. Overall, we uncovered new GABAergic neural circuitry from the forebrain to hypothalamus, used in the regulation of anxiety-induced bone loss, and revealed a population of somatostatin neurons in BNST not previously implicated in bone mass regulation. These findings thus identify the underlying central neural mechanism of psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, that influences bone metabolism at the circuit level.

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