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Invité par l'Assemblée des professeurs, sur la proposition des professeurs Hugues de Thé, Philippe Sansonetti et Alain Prochiantz.

Gerard Karsenty, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman
Department of Genetics & Development
Columbia University


A major yet unforeseen consequence of the introduction of genetic approaches in the study of model organism has been to rejuvenate a biological discipline that had been progressively abandoned; whole-organism physiology.

When it comes to bony vertebrates, it can be said that the most unexpected findings of mouse genetics are in the realm of physiology. Along these lines the four conferences that I will present on how an interpretation of bone biology taking into account evolutionary aspects, unique cell biological features and clinical observations led to a working hypothesis linking bone physiology, energy metabolism and reproduction. Every aspects of this hypothesis has been verified experimentally in the mouse and whenever possible in humans. The most provocative inference of this working hypothesis is that bone itself should be an endocrine organ regulating aspects of energy metabolism and reproduction. As will be presented during these conferences, this is indeed the case. Bone cells produce a hormone called osteocalcin that favors glucose homeostasis at rest and during exercise. Osteocalcin also promotes male fertility in mice and in humans.