Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD

Departments And Divisions

  • Department of Genetics & Development
  • Department of Medicine
    Division of Endocrinology
  • Paul A. Marks Professor of Genetics and Development
  • Professor of Medicine
  • Chair, Genetics and Development
Gerard Karsenty, <span>MD, PhD</span>

For a variety of reasons our laboratory is pursuing the following questions: is bone an endocrine organ and if it is which physiological processes doe sit regulate? In addressing these questions we identified one hormone made by bone cells called osteocalcin and have shown that it exerts several functions in the brain. During embryogenesis, maternal osteocalcin crosses the placenta and prevents neuronal apoptosis in the hippocampus before the embryo can make osteocalcin. In adult mice, osteocalcin binds to neurons in the brainstem and the CA3 region of the hippocampus, favors the synthesis of all monoamine neurotransmitters and inhibits the synthesis of GABA. As a result adult Osteocalcin-/- mice display increased anxiety, and decreased spatial learning and memory. Current studies in the lab aim at identifying the receptor mediating these functions of osteocalcin with the dual goals to identify the molecular pathways regulated by this this hormone as well as other regions of the brain in which osteocalcin may signal. We are also studying the regulation of the activity of the autonomic nervous system by osteocalcin.

Lab Locations

  • Hammer Health Sciences Building

    701 West 168th Street
    room 1602A
    New York, NY 10032
    (212) 305-6398

Research Interests

  • Cellular/Molecular/Developmental Neuroscience


1: Lee NK, Sowa H, Hinoi E, Ferron M, Ahn JD, Confavreux C, Dacquin R, Mee PJ, McKee MD, Jung DY, Zhang Z, Kim JK, Mauvais-Jarvis F, Ducy P, Karsenty G. Endocrine regulation of energy metabolism by the skeleton. Cell. 2007 Aug 10;130(3):456-69. 

2: Ferron M, Wei J, Yoshizawa T, Del Fattore A, DePinho RA, Teti A, Ducy P, Karsenty G. Insulin signaling in osteoblasts integrates bone remodeling and energy metabolism. Cell. 2010 Jul 23;142(2):296-308. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2010.06.003. 

3: Oury F, Sumara G, Sumara O, Ferron M, Chang H, Smith CE, Hermo L, Suarez S, Roth BL, Ducy P, Karsenty G. Endocrine regulation of male fertility by the skeleton. Cell. 2011 Mar 4;144(5):796-809. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 Feb 17.

4: Oury F, Khrimian L, Denny CA, Gardin A, Chamouni A, Goeden N, Huang YY, Lee H, Srinivas P, Gao XB, Suyama S, Langer T, Mann JJ, Horvath TL, Bonnin A, Karsenty, G. Maternal and offspring pools of osteocalcin influence brain development and functions. Cell. 2013 Sep 26;155(1):228-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.08.042.