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Rapid Bone Loss As Possible Side Effect Of Anti-Obesity Drug Now In Clinical Trials

Posted Feb 06 2012 7:06pm

An endocrine hormone used in clinical trials as an anti-obesity and anti-diabetes drug causes significant and rapid bone loss in mice, raising concerns about its safe use, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have shown.

UT Southwestern researchers (from left) Drs. Yihong Wan, Wei Wei and David Mangelsdorf have found in mice that a hormone used as an anti-obesity drug causes significant bone loss.
The hormone, fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), promotes bone loss by enhancing the activity of a protein that stimulates fat cells but inhibits bone cells, researchers report in a study available online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This hormone is a very potent regulator of bone mass,” said Dr. Yihong Wan, assistant professor of pharmacology and senior author of the study. “When we oversupply FGF21 in mice, it results in substantial bone loss.”

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