Gerard  Karsenty
Gerard Karsenty
Professor and Chair, Genetics and Development Department

Address: 701 West 168th Street Room 1602A New York NY 10032
Phone: 212-305-6398
Fax: 212-923-2090


Education and Training:
M.D., Ph.D. 1984, University of Paris V
Postdoctoral Fellowship 1987, National Institute of Health
Postdoctoral Fellowship 1990, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
bullet  Department of Genetics and Development
bullet  Department of Medicine
Training Activities:
bullet  Graduate Program in Genetics and Development
bullet  Integrated Program in Molecular, Cellular and Biophysical Studies
Research Summary:
(800 words, max)
Novel Physiology of the Skeleton
Current Research:
Work in my laboratory uses genetics to study how organs interact with one another to regulate in vertebrates various physiological functions. We study this aspect of vertebrate biology by focusing on one particular organ, bone and by addressing the following questions: Does bone have any other function besides making bone and if yes, what are they? A series of cell biological and clinical observations we had originally proposed, the hypothesis whereby there would be a coordinated regulation, endocrine in nature, of bone growth energy metabolism and reproduction. The testing of this hypothesis led to the demonstration that bone is an endocrine organ regulating insulin secretion, glucose homeostasis, testosterone production and male fertility. We also identified a receptor for osteocalcin in pancreatic β-cells and in Leydig cells of the testes. Further investigation showed that osteocalcin also favors hippocampal development and cognition in adult mice. In looking at the known function of osteocalcin we noticed that they are all needed when living in a hostile environment. Moreover circulating osteocalcin levels decrease abruptly and early in life of all species tested. Hence, we proposed a second hypothesis: Osteocalcin was originally needed for animals living a short life in a hostile environment, such as the one in which bone vertebrates evolved. We are now using this hypothesis to identify novel function of osteocalcin, we are looking for a receptor for osteocalcin in the brain, finally some aspects of the work on osteocalcin bare open new directions of research such us the study of the molecular basis of bone metastasis.
(6 max)
1. Lee NK, Sowa H, Hinoi E, Ferron M Ahn JD, Confavreux C, Dacquin R, Mee PJ, McKee M, Jung, DY, Zhang Z, Kim JK, Mauvais-Jarvis F, Ducy P, and Karsenty G.: (2007) Endocrine regulation of energy metabolism by the skeleton. .  Cell  130: 456-469

2. Wei J, Shimazu J, Makinistoglu MP, Maurizi A, Kajimura D, Zong H, Takarada T, Iezaki T, Pessin JE, Hinoi E, Karsenty G.: (2015) Glucose uptake and Rubx2 synergize to orchestrate osteoblast differentiation and bone formation.  Cell  161: 1576-91

3. Ferron M, Wei J, Yoshizawa T, Del Fattore A, De Pinho RA, Teti A, Ducy P and Karsenty G: (2010) Insulin signaling in osteoblasts integrates bone remodeling and energy metabolism .  Cell  142: 296-308

4. Oury F, Sumara G, Sumara O, Ferron M, Smith CE, Hermo L, Suarez S, Roth BL, Ducy P and Karsenty G: (2011) Endocrine regulation of male fertility by the skeleton.  Cell  144: 796-810

5. Oury F, Khrimian L, Denny CA, Gardin A, Chamouni A, Goeden N, Huang YY, Srinivas P, Gao XB, Suyama S, Langer T, Horvath T, Bonnin A, and Karsenty G: (2013) Maternal and offspring pools of osteocalcin influence brain development and functions.  Cell  155: 228-241

URL for lab page: