A GABAergic neural circuit in the ventromedial hypothalamus mediates chronic stress-induced bone loss

Fan Yang,1 
Yunhui Liu,1 Shanping Chen,1 Zhongquan Dai,2 Dazhi Yang,3 Dashuang Gao,1 Jie Shao,1 Yuyao Wang,1 Ting Wang,1 Zhijian Zhang,4 Lu Zhang,5 William W. Lu,5 Yinghui Li,2 and Liping Wang1

First published September 10, 2020 – More info


Homeostasis of bone metabolism is regulated by the central nervous system and mood disorders such as anxiety are associated with bone metabolism abnormalities, yet our understanding of the central neural circuits regulating bone metabolism is limited. Here, we demonstrate that chronic stress in crewmembers resulted in decreased bone density and elevated anxiety in an isolated habitat mimicking a space station. We then used a mouse model to demonstrate that GABAergic neural circuitry in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) mediates chronic stress-induced bone loss. We show that GABAergic inputs in the VMHdm arise from a specific group of somatostatin neurons in the posterior region of bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), which is indispensable for stress-induced bone loss and is able to trigger bone loss in the absence of stressors. In addition, the sympathetic system and glutamatergic neurons in nucleus tractus solitaries (NTS) were employed to regulate stress-induced bone loss. Our study has therefore identified the central neural mechanism by which chronic stress induced mood disorders, such as anxiety, influence bone metabolism.

Direct link to the research

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.