Editors' ChoiceHost-Microbe Interactions

Feeling the warmth in your bones

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Science Signaling  06 Oct 2020:
Vol. 13, Issue 652, eabf0850
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.abf0850

Warm ambient temperatures induce gut microbiota to release factors that limit bone loss.

The decrease in estrogen production that occurs in postmenopausal women increases the risk of bone fractures due to osteoporosis. Chevalier et al. found that warm ambient temperatures promoted the release of factors from gut microbiota that limited bone loss. Metadata analysis revealed that the incidence of hip fractures positively correlated with latitude and negatively correlated with warmer temperatures independently of vitamin D status. Housing older female mice at 34°C increased bone strength and prevented the bone loss and fragility induced by ovariectomy. Warm ambient temperatures altered the composition of gut microbiota in both male and female mice of different ages. Transplantation of microbiota from female mice housed at 34°C offset the decrease in bone strength caused by ovariectomy. Metagenomic analysis identified an increase in the expression of genes encoding components in polyamine synthesis, and mass spectrometry confirmed an increase in polyamine metabolite abundance in gut microbiota from female mice housed at 34°C. Administration of polyamines increased bone strength in older female mice housed at room temperature, whereas treatment with a polyamine synthesis inhibitor reversed the beneficial effects of being housed at 34°C on bone strength. Thus, polyamines released by gut microbiota in response to warmth attenuate bone loss and may represent a strategy to prevent osteoporosis.

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