HKU Scientists Unveil Significant Discovery with Potential Impact on Obesity and Osteoporosis Treatments 港大研究團隊發現調節身體代謝和骨骼健康關鍵,或為肥胖和骨質疏鬆症治療提供新思路

By Eric Lee
Mar 12th 2024
Secretin signaling in the ventromedial hypothalamus regulates skeletal and metabolic homeostasis. Image adapted from respective paper in Nature Communications (2024)
下丘腦腹內側的促胰液素信號傳導調節骨骼和代謝穩態。(圖片修改自《自然通訊》 (2024)相關文章)

A team of researchers from The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has made a significant breakthrough in understanding how energy metabolism and bone homeostasis are regulated in mice, which could lead to novel treatments for obesity and osteoporosis. The study, led by Professor Billy CHOW from the School of Biological Sciences (SBS), Faculty of Science, Professor Kelvin YEUNG from the School of Clinical Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, and Professor Will Wei QIAO from the Faculty of Dentistry, along with their colleagues, has been published in the top journal Nature Communications, with Dr Fengwei Zhang from SBS as the first author.

In their pioneering research, the team discover that the hormone secretin, found within the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) of the brain, plays a vital role in controlling both energy balance and bone density. This finding challenges the traditional view that secretin’s primary function is in the digestive system, showcasing its importance in the central nervous system.

Using advanced genetic techniques, the researchers manipulated secretin signaling in mice and observed

remarkable outcome. They found that disruptions to secretin pathways in the VMH led to increased appetite, metabolic dysfunctions, and significant bone density loss. Conversely, enhancing secretin signals in the same area increased bone mass without affecting body weight or appetite.

‘Our study opens new doors to treating metabolic and bone diseases. The ability to control appetite and bone density through the brain has significant implications for tackling obesity and osteoporosis,’ notes principal investigator Professor Chow.

Looking forward, this research provides new ideas for developing innovative therapies targeting the brain to regulate body metabolism and bone health. The team plans to further investigate the applicability of these findings to human physiology and potential drug development.

The University of Hong Kong is known for its interdisciplinary approach, and this research represents a close collaboration between the fields of neuroscience, endocrinology, and orthopedics. Details can be found at Nature Communications under the title ‘Secretin-dependent signals in the ventromedial hypothalamus regulate energy metabolism and bone homeostasis in mice’.

The journal paper can be accessed here:

More information about the team:
Professor Billy Chow and his research group:
Professor Kelvin Yeung and his research group:
Professor Will Wei Qiao and his research group:

由香港大學 (港大) 理學院生物科學學院鄒國昌教授、李嘉誠醫學院臨床醫學學院楊偉國教授、牙醫學院喬威教授所率領的研究團隊,最近在瞭解小鼠能量代謝和骨穩態如何調節方面取得重大突破,有望為肥胖和骨質疏鬆症帶來新療法。該研究剛於頂級學術期刊《自然通訊》(Nature Communications)上發表,生物科學學院的張鳳偉博士為該文章第一作者。


研究人員利用先進的遺傳技術操縱小鼠的促胰液素信號傳導,並觀察到了顯著的結果。 他們發現,腹內側下丘腦中促胰液素途徑的破壞會導致食欲增加、代謝功能障礙和骨密度顯著下降。 相反,增強同一區域的促胰液素信號會增加骨量,而不影響體重或食欲。

「我們的研究為治療代謝和骨骼疾病打開了新的大門。 通過大腦控制食欲和骨密度的能力對於解決肥胖和骨質疏鬆症具有重要意義。」首席研究員鄒教授指出。

展望未來,這項研究為開發針對大腦的創新療法來調節身體代謝和骨骼健康提供了新思路。 該團隊計畫進一步研究這些發現對人類生理學和潛在藥物開發的適用性。

香港大學以其跨學科方法而聞名,這項研究代表了神經科學、內分泌學和骨科領域之間的密切合作。 詳細資訊可以在《自然通訊》的標題「下丘腦腹內側分泌素依賴性信號調節小鼠能量代謝和骨穩態」下找到。論文連結請見於: