Xunde Wang, Wei Wei, Andrew R. Zinn, and Yihong Wan
Sim1 is a bHLH-PAS transcription factor that is important for neuronal development in the hypothalamus. Loss-of-function mutation of Sim1 causes early onset obesity. However, it is unknown whether and how Sim1 regulates bone remodeling. In this study, we found that adult-onset Sim1 deletion increases bone formation, leading to high bone mass. In contrast, Sim1 over-expressing transgenic mice exhibit decreased bone formation and low bone mass. Sim1 does not directly regulate osteoblastogenesis because bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells from Sim1 mutant mice display a normal capacity for osteoblast differentiation. Instead, Sim1 inhibits bone formation via stimulating the sympathetic nervous system because sympathetic tone is decreased by Sim1 deletion but increased by Sim1 overexpression. Treatment with the β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol effectively reverses the high bone mass in Sim1 KO mice. These findings reveal Sim1 as a critical yet previously unrecognized modulator of skeletal homeostasis that functions through a central relay.