Mediation of the Acute Stress Response by the Skeleton

Cell Metabolism| VOLUME 30, ISSUE 5, P890-902.E8, NOVEMBER 05, 2019

Published:September 12, 2019

DOI: Metrics


  • The ASR stimulates osteocalcin release from bone within minutes
  • Glutamate uptake into osteoblasts is required for osteocalcin release during an ASR
  • Osteocalcin inhibits the parasympathetic tone during an ASR
  • In adrenal insufficiency, increased osteocalcin levels enable an ASR to occur


We hypothesized that bone evolved, in part, to enhance the ability of bony vertebrates to escape danger in the wild. In support of this notion, we show here that a bone-derived signal is necessary to develop an acute stress response (ASR). Indeed, exposure to various types of stressors in mice, rats (rodents), and humans leads to a rapid and selective surge of circulating bioactive osteocalcin because stressors favor the uptake by osteoblasts of glutamate, which prevents inactivation of osteocalcin prior to its secretion. Osteocalcin permits manifestations of the ASR to unfold by signaling in post-synaptic parasympathetic neurons to inhibit their activity, thereby leaving the sympathetic tone unopposed. Like wild-type animals, adrenalectomized rodents and adrenal-insufficient patients can develop an ASR, and genetic studies suggest that this is due to their high circulating osteocalcin levels. We propose that osteocalcin defines a bony-vertebrate-specific endocrine mediation of the ASR.

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About S. R. Zelenz 119 Articles
S.R. Zelenz has worked in education for 20 years. Working with students from all walks of life, cultures, races, and social diversity, Zelenz’s research in Educational Leadership led to finding a better way to approach learning for students with trauma histories. Many were juvenile offenders, gang members, diagnosed with varying behavioral disorders, or had family histories of violence, murder, or narcissistic parenting. This research could not be effectively accomplished without further understanding: how epigenetic trauma inheritance may be impacting these students; how brain development from trauma may be impacting their behavioral and emotional development; as well as deep understanding of psychology and its varying classifications for behavioral and personality disorders. The goal is to find solutions for changing the conversation and making a real difference for these students. She has also worked with nonprofits of varying focus areas for the last 25 years. Her undergraduate degree in Arts Administration and Music prepared her for managing nonprofits of any size as well as procuring funding so that they can achieve their goals. Pairing her nonprofit background with her education background, she has been able to make a difference for over 200 nonprofits worldwide, written curriculum for schools across the globe, and assisted many arts organizations through performance and management.