Alternative methods of predicting hip fracture are needed since 50% of adults who fracture do not have osteoporosis by BMD measurements. One method, factor-of-risk (φ), computes the ratio of force on the hip in a fall, to femoral strength. We examined the relation between φ and hip fracture in 1,100 subjects from the Framingham Study with measured hip BMD, along with weight, height and age, collected in 1988-89.
We estimated both peak and attenuated force applied to the hip in a sideways fall from standing height, where attenuated force incorporated cushioning effects of trochanteric soft tissue. Femoral strength was estimated from femoral neck BMD, using cadaveric femoral strength data. Sex-specific, age-adjusted survival models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals for the relation between φpeak,φattenuated and their components, with hip fracture.
In 425 men and 675 women (mean age 76 yrs), 136 hip fractures occurred over median follow-up of 11.3 yrs. φ was associated with increased age-adjusted risk for hip fracture. One standard deviation increase in φpeak and φattenuated was associated with HR of 1.88 and 1.78 in men and 1.23 and 1.41 in women, respectively. Examining components of φ, in women, we found fall force and soft tissue thickness were predictive of hip fracture independent of femoral strength, (was estimated from BMD).
Thus, both φpeak and φattenuated predict hip fracture in men and women. These findings suggest additional studies of φ predicting hip fracture using direct measurements of trochanteric soft tissue.
Hip fracture; Factor-of-Risk; bone strength; cohort study; fracture prediction; elderly
Musculoskeletal modeling requires information on muscle parameters such as cross-sectional area (CSA) and moment arms. A variety of previous studies have reported muscle parameters in the trunk based on in vivo imaging, but there remain gaps in the available data as well as limitations in the generalizability of such data. Specifically, available trunk muscle CSA data is very limited for older adults, lacking entirely in the thoracic region. In addition, previous studies have made measurements in groups of healthy volunteers or hospital patients who may not be representative of the population in general. Finally, such studies have not reported data for the major muscles connecting the upper limb to the thoracic trunk. In this study, muscle morphology measurements were made for major muscles present in the trunk between vertebral levels T6 and L5 using quantitative computed tomography scans from a community-based sample of 100 men and women aged 36–87. We present regression equations to predict trunk muscle CSA and position relative to the vertebral body in the transverse plane from sex, age, height and weight at vertebral levels T6 to L5. Regressions were also developed for predicting anatomical CSA and muscle moment arms, which were estimated using literature data on muscle line of action. This work thus provides a resource for estimating muscle parameters in the general population for musculoskeletal modeling of the thoraco-lumbar trunk.
Trunk Musculature; Cross-sectional Area; Moment Arm Length; Biomechanical Modeling
Biomechanical models are commonly used to estimate loads on the spine. Current models have focused on understanding the etiology of low back pain and have not included thoracic vertebral levels. Using experimental data on the stiffness of the thoracic spine, ribcage, and sternum, we developed a new quasi-static stiffness-based biomechanical model to calculate loads on the thoracic and lumbar spine during bending or lifting tasks.
To assess the sensitivity of the model to our key assumptions, we determined the effect of varying ribcage and sternal stiffness, maximum muscle stress, and objective function on predicted spinal loads. We compared estimates of spinal loading obtained with our model to previously reported in vivo intradiscal pressures and muscle activation patterns.
Inclusion of the ribs and sternum caused an average decrease in vertebral compressive force of 33% for forward flexion and 18% in a lateral moment task. The impact of maximum muscle stress on vertebral force was limited to a narrow range of values. Compressive forces predicted by our model were strongly correlated to in vivo intradiscal pressure measurements in the thoracic (r=0.95) and lumbar (r=1) spine. Predicted trunk muscle activity was also strongly correlated (r=0.95) with previously published EMG data from the lumbar spine.
The consistency and accuracy of the model predictions appear to be sufficient to justify the use of this model for investigating the relationships between applied loads and injury to the thoracic spine during quasi-static loading activities.
Spine; biomechanical model; back injury; muscle activation
The role of circadian proteins in regulating whole body metabolism and bone turnover has been studied in detail and has led to the discovery of an elemental system for timekeeping involving the core genes Clock, Bmal1, Per, and Cry. Nocturnin, a peripheral circadian-regulated gene has been shown to play a very important role in regulating adipogenesis by deadenylation of key mRNAs and intra-cytoplasmic transport of PPARγ. The role that it plays in osteogenesis has previously not been studied in detail. In this report we examined in vitro and in vivo osteogenesis in the presence and absence of Nocturnin and show that loss of Nocturnin enhances bone formation and can rescue Rosiglitazone induced bone loss in mice. The circadian rhythm of Nocturnin is likely to be an essential element of marrow stromal cell fate.
Nocturnin; rosiglitazone; PPARγ
The biomechanical mechanisms underlying sex-specific differences in age-related vertebral fracture rates are ill defined. To gain insight into this issue, we used finite element analysis of clinical computed tomography (CT) scans of the vertebral bodies of L3 and T10 of young and old men and women to assess age- and sex-related differences in the strength of the whole vertebra, the trabecular compartment, and the peripheral compartment (the outer 2 mm of vertebral bone, including the thin cortical shell). We sought to determine whether structural and geometric changes with age differ in men and women, making women more susceptible to vertebral fractures. As expected, we found that vertebral strength decreased with age 2-fold more in women than in men. The strength of the trabecular compartment declined significantly with age for both sexes, whereas the strength of the peripheral compartment decreased with age in women but was largely maintained in men. The proportion of mechanical strength attributable to the peripheral compartment increased with age in both sexes and at both vertebral levels. Taken together, these results indicate that men and women lose vertebral bone differently with age, particularly in the peripheral (cortical) compartment. This differential bone loss explains, in part, a greater decline in bone strength in women and may contribute to the higher incidence of vertebral fractures among women than men. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
VERTEBRAL FRACTURE; FINITE ELEMENT ANALYSIS; QUANTITATIVE COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY; BONE LOSS; VERTEBRAL STRENGTH; BONE STRENGTH; BIOMECHANICS
The ability of a vertebra to carry load after an initial deformation and the determinants of this postfracture load-bearing capacity are critical but poorly understood. This study aimed to determine the mechanical behavior of vertebrae after simulated mild fracture and to identify the determinants of this postfracture behavior. Twenty-one human L3 vertebrae were analyzed for bone mineral density (BMD) by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and for microarchitecture by micro–computed tomography (µCT). Mechanical testing was performed in two phases: initial compression of vertebra to 25% deformity, followed, after 30 minutes of relaxation, by a similar test to failure to determine postfracture behavior. We assessed (1) initial and postfracture mechanical parameters, (2) changes in mechanical parameters, (3) postfracture elastic behavior by recovery of vertebral height after relaxation, and (4) postfracture plastic behavior by residual strength and stiffness. Postfracture failure load and stiffness were 11% ± 19% and 53% ± 18% lower than initial values (p = .021 and p < .0001, respectively), with 29% to 69% of the variation in the postfracture mechanical behavior explained by the initial values. Both initial and postfracture mechanical behaviors were significantly correlated with bone mass and microarchitecture. Vertebral deformation recovery averaged 31% ± 7% and was associated with trabecular and cortical thickness (r = 0.47 and r = 0.64; p = .03 and p = .002, respectively). Residual strength and stiffness were independent of bone mass and initial mechanical behavior but were related to trabecular and cortical microarchitecture (|r| = 0.50 to 0.58; p = .02 to .006). In summary, we found marked variation in the postfracture load-bearing capacity following simulated mild vertebral fractures. Bone microarchitecture, but not bone mass, was associated with postfracture mechanical behavior of vertebrae. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
OSTEOPOROSIS; VERTEBRAL FRACTURE; VERTEBRAL STRENGTH; BIOMECHANICS; MICROARCHITECTURE
Cytoplasmic arrestins regulate PTH signaling in vitro. We show that female β-arrestin2-/- mice have decreased bone mass and altered bone architecture. The effects of intermittent PTH administration on bone microarchitecture differed in β-arrestin2-/- and wildtype mice. These data indicate that arrestin-mediated regulation of intracellular signaling contributes to the differential effects of PTH at endosteal and periosteal bone surfaces.
Introduction: The effects of PTH differ at endosteal and periosteal surfaces, suggesting that PTH activity in these compartments may depend on some yet unidentified mechanism(s) of regulation. The action of PTH in bone is mediated primarily by intracellular cAMP, and the cytoplasmic molecule β-arrestin2 plays a central role in this signaling regulation. Thus, we hypothesized that arrestins would modulate the effects of PTH on bone in vivo.
Materials and Methods: We used pDXA, μCT, histomorphometry, and serum markers of bone turnover to assess the skeletal response to intermittent PTH (0, 20, 40, or 80 μg/kg/day) in adult female mice null for β-arrestin2 (β-arr2-/-) and wildtype (WT) littermates (7-11/group).
Results and Conclusions: β-arr2-/- mice had significantly lower total body BMD, trabecular bone volume fraction (BV/TV), and femoral cross-sectional area compared with WT. In WT females, PTH increased total body BMD, trabecular bone parameters, and cortical thickness, with a trend toward decreased midfemoral medullary area. In β-arr2-/- mice, PTH not only improved total body BMD, trabecular bone architecture, and cortical thickness, but also dose-dependently increased femoral cross-sectional area and medullary area. Histomorphometry showed that PTH-stimulated periosteal bone formation was 2-fold higher in β-arr2-/- compared with WT. Osteocalcin levels were significantly lower in β-arr2-/- mice, but increased dose-dependently with PTH in both β-arr2-/- and WT. In contrast, whereas the resorption marker TRACP5B increased dose-dependently in WT, 20-80 μg/kg/day of PTH was equipotent with regard to stimulation of TRACP5B in β-arr2-/-. In summary, β-arrestin2 plays an important role in bone mass acquisition and remodeling. In estrogen-replete female mice, the ability of intermittent PTH to stimulate periosteal bone apposition and endosteal resorption is inhibited by arrestins. We therefore infer that arrestin-mediated regulation of intracellular signaling contributes to the differential effects of PTH on cancellous and cortical bone.
β-arrestin; PTH; knockout; bone architecture; bone remodeling
Low bone mineral density (BMD) is a strong risk factor for vertebral fracture risk in osteoporosis. However, many fractures occur in people with moderately decreased or normal BMD. Our aim was to assess the contributions of trabecular microarchitecture and its heterogeneity to the mechanical behavior of human lumbar vertebrae. Twenty-one human L3 vertebrae were analyzed for BMD by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and microarchitecture by high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT) and then tested in axial compression. Microarchitecture heterogeneity was assessed using two vertically oriented virtual biopsies—one anterior (Ant) and one posterior (Post)—each divided into three zones (superior, middle, and inferior) and using the whole vertebral trabecular volume for the intraindividual distribution of trabecular separation (Tb.Sp*SD). Heterogeneity parameters were defined as (1) ratios of anterior to posterior microarchitectural parameters and (2) the coefficient of variation of microarchitectural parameters from the superior, middle, and inferior zones. BMD alone explained up to 44% of the variability in vertebral mechanical behavior, bone volume fraction (BV/TV) up to 53%, and trabecular architecture up to 66%. Importantly, bone mass (BMD or BV/TV) in combination with microarchitecture and its heterogeneity improved the prediction of vertebral mechanical behavior, together explaining up to 86% of the variability in vertebral failure load. In conclusion, our data indicate that regional variation of microarchitecture assessment expressed by heterogeneity parameters may enhance prediction of vertebral fracture risk. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
osteoporosis; vertebra; bone biomechanics; trabecular microarchitecture; heterogeneity
The incidence of bone metastasis in advanced breast cancer exceeds 70%. Bortezomib (Bzb), a proteasome inhibitor used for the treatment of multiple myeloma, also promotes bone formation. We tested the hypothesis that proteasome inhibitors can ameliorate breast cancer osteolytic disease.
To address the potentially beneficial effect of Bzb in reducing tumor growth in the skeleton and counteracting bone osteolysis, human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer (BrCa) cells were injected into the tibia of mice to model bone tumor growth for in vivo assessment of treatment regimens pre- and post-tumor growth.
Controls exhibited tumor growth destroying trabecular and cortical bone and invading muscle. Bzb treatment initiated following inoculation of tumor cells strikingly reduced tumor growth, restricted tumor cells mainly to the marrow cavity, and almost completely inhibited osteolysis in the bone microenvironment over a 3–4 week period demonstrated by 18F-FDG PET, micro-CT scanning, radiography, and histology. Thus, proteasome inhibition is effective in killing tumor cells within bone. Pre-treatment with Bzb for 3 weeks prior to inoculation of tumor cells was also effective in reducing osteolysis. Our in vitro and in vivo studies indicate mechanisms by which Bzb inhibits tumor growth and reduces osteolysis result from inhibited cell proliferation, necrosis and decreased expression of factors that promote BrCa tumor progression in bone.
These findings provide a basis for a novel strategy to treat patients with breast cancer osteolytic lesions, and represent an approach for protecting the entire skeleton from metastatic bone disease.
MDA-MB-231; bone metastasis; prevention of osteolysis; bone anabolic drug; VEGF; MMP9 and Runx2 genes
Osteoporosis is a common complication of aging. Alternatives to pharmacologic treatment are needed for older adults. Non-pharmacologic treatment with low magnitude, high frequency mechanical stimulation has been shown to prevent bone loss in animal and human studies.
The VIBES (Vibration to Improve Bone Density in Elderly Subjects) study is a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial of the efficacy of low magnitude, high frequency mechanical stimulation in 200 men and women aged 60 years and older with bone mineral density T-scores by dual-x-ray absorptiometry between –1 and –2.5 at entry. Participants are healthy, cognitively intact residents of independent living communities in the Boston area who receive free calcium and Vitamin D supplements. They are randomly assigned to active or sham treatment and stand on their assigned platform once daily for 10 minutes. All platforms have adherence data collection software downloadable to a laptop computer. Adverse events are closely monitored. 174 participants were randomized and will be followed for two years. Almost all active subjects have attained one year of follow-up. Bone mineral density is measured by both dual x-ray absorptiometry and quantitative computed tomography at baseline and annually. The main analysis will compare mean changes from baseline in volumetric bone density by quantitative computed tomography in active and sham groups. Adherence and treatment effect magnitude will also be evaluated. Secondary analyses will compare changes in three biochemical markers of bone turnover as well as longitudinal comparisons of muscle and balance endpoints.
The VIBES trial has completed its first year of data collection and encountered multiple challenges leading to valuable lessons learned about the areas of recruitment from independent living communities, deployment of multi-user mechanical devices using radio frequency identification cards and electronic adherence monitoring, organization of transportation for imaging at a central site, and the expansion of study aims to include additional musculoskeletal outcomes.
These lessons will guide future investigations in studies of individuals of advanced age.
osteoporosis; BMD; balance; muscle mass; fractures; vibration; falls; bone; DXA; QCT
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) suppresses Dickkopf 1 (Dkk1) expression in osteoblasts. To determine whether this suppression is essential for PTH-mediated Wnt signaling and bone formation, we examined mice that overexpress Dkk1 in osteoblasts (Dkk1 mice). Dkk1 mice were osteopenic due to abnormal osteoblast and osteoclast activity. When fed a low calcium diet, and in two other models of hyperparathyroidism, these mice failed to develop the peritrabecular stromal cell response (“osteitis fibrosis”) and new bone formation seen in wild type mice. Despite these effects of Dkk1 overexpression, PTH still activated Wnt signaling in Dkk1 mice and in osteoblastic cells cultured from these mice. In cultured MC3T3E1 preosteoblastic cells, PTH dramatically suppressed Dkk1 expression, induced PKA-mediated phosphorylation of β-catenin and significantly enhanced Lef1 expression. Our findings indicate that the full actions of PTH require intact Wnt signaling but that PTH can activate the Wnt pathway despite overexpression of Dkk1.
PTH; PTH/PTHrP receptor; Dkk1; Wnt signaling
Previous work showed that retaining residual ovarian tissue protects young mice from accelerated bone loss following ovarian failure. The present study was designed to determine whether this protection is also present in aged animals. Aged (9–12 months) C57BL/6Hsd female mice were divided into: CON (vehicle), VCD (160 mg/kg; 15d), or OVX (ovariectomized). Lumbar BMD was monitored by DXA and μCT used to assess vertebral microarchitecture. BMD was not different between VCD and CON at any time point but was lower (P < .05) than baseline, starting 1 month after ovarian failure in VCD and OVX mice. Following μCT analysis there were no differences between CON and VCD, but OVX mice had lower bone volume fraction, trabecular thickness, and a trend for decreased connectivity density. These findings provide evidence that retention of residual ovarian tissue may protect aged follicle-depleted mice from accelerated bone loss to a lesser extent than that observed in young mice.
Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a congenital disorder of progressive and widespread postnatal ossification of soft tissues1–4 and is without known effective treatments. Affected individuals harbor conserved mutations in the ACVR1 gene that are thought to cause constitutive activation of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) type I receptor, activin receptor-like kinase-2 (ALK2)5. Here we show that intramuscular expression in the mouse of an inducible transgene encoding constitutively active ALK2 (caALK2), resulting from a glutamine to aspartic acid change at amino acid position 207, leads to ectopic endochondral bone formation, joint fusion and functional impairment, thus phenocopying key aspects of human FOP. A selective inhibitor of BMP type I receptor kinases, LDN-193189 (ref. 6), inhibits activation of the BMP signaling effectors SMAD1, SMAD5 and SMAD8 in tissues expressing caALK2 induced by adenovirus specifying Cre (Ad.Cre). This treatment resulted in a reduction in ectopic ossification and functional impairment. In contrast to localized induction of caALK2 by Ad.Cre (which entails inflammation), global postnatal expression of caALK2 (induced without the use of Ad.Cre and thus without inflammation) does not lead to ectopic ossification. However, if in this context an inflammatory stimulus was provided with a control adenovirus, ectopic bone formation was induced. Like LDN-193189, corticosteroid treatment inhibits ossification in Ad.Cre-injected mutant mice, suggesting caALK2 expression and an inflammatory milieu are both required for the development of ectopic ossification in this model. These results support the role of dysregulated ALK2 kinase activity in the pathogenesis of FOP and suggest that small molecule inhibition of BMP type I receptor activity may be useful in treating FOP and heterotopic ossification syndromes associated with excessive BMP signaling.
It has been suggested that accumulation of microdamage with age contributes to skeletal fragility. However, data on the age-related increase in microdamage and the association between microdamage and trabecular microarchitecture in human vertebral cancellous bone are limited. We quantified microdamage in cancellous bone from human lumbar (L2) vertebral bodies obtained from 23 donors 54–93 yr of age (8 men and 15 women). Damage was measured using histologic techniques of sequential labeling with chelating agents and was related to 3D microarchitecture, as assessed by high-resolution μCT. There were no significant differences between sexes, although women tended to have a higher microcrack density (Cr.Dn) than men. Cr.Dn increased exponentially with age (r = 0.65, p < 0.001) and was correlated with bone volume fraction (BV/TV; r = −0.55; p < 0.01), trabecular number (Tb.N; r = −0.56 p = 0.008), structure model index (SMI; r = 0.59; p = 0.005), and trabecular separation (Tb.Sp; r = 0.59; p < 0.009). All architecture parameters were strongly correlated with each other and with BV/TV. Stepwise regression showed that SMI was the best predictor of microdamage, explaining 35% of the variance in Cr.Dn and 20% of the variance in diffuse damage accumulation. In addition, microcrack length was significantly greater in the highest versus lowest tertiles of SMI. In conclusion, in human vertebral cancellous bone, microdamage increases with age and is associated with low BV/TV and a rod-like trabecular architecture.
microdamage; microcrack; human; vertebral; trabecular bone; microarchitecture; osteoporosis
Drug targeting of adult stem cells has been proposed as a strategy for regenerative medicine, but very few drugs are known to target stem cell populations in vivo. Mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells (MSCs) are a multipotent population of cells that can differentiate into muscle, bone, fat, and other cell types in context-specific manners. Bortezomib (Bzb) is a clinically available proteasome inhibitor used in the treatment of multiple myeloma. Here, we show that Bzb induces MSCs to preferentially undergo osteoblastic differentiation, in part by modulation of the bone-specifying transcription factor runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx-2) in mice. Mice implanted with MSCs showed increased ectopic ossicle and bone formation when recipients received low doses of Bzb. Furthermore, this treatment increased bone formation and rescued bone loss in a mouse model of osteoporosis. Thus, we show that a tissue-resident adult stem cell population in vivo can be pharmacologically modified to promote a regenerative function in adult animals.
Skeletal development and turnover occur in close spatial and temporal association with angiogenesis. Osteoblasts are ideally situated in bone to sense oxygen tension and respond to hypoxia by activating the hypoxia-inducible factor α (HIFα) pathway. Here we provide evidence that HIFα promotes angiogenesis and osteogenesis by elevating VEGF levels in osteoblasts. Mice overexpressing HIFα in osteoblasts through selective deletion of the von Hippel–Lindau gene (Vhl) expressed high levels of Vegf and developed extremely dense, heavily vascularized long bones. By contrast, mice lacking Hif1a in osteoblasts had the reverse skeletal phenotype of that of the Vhl mutants: long bones were significantly thinner and less vascularized than those of controls. Loss of Vhl in osteoblasts increased endothelial sprouting from the embryonic metatarsals in vitro but had little effect on osteoblast function in the absence of blood vessels. Mice lacking both Vhl and Hif1a had a bone phenotype intermediate between those of the single mutants, suggesting overlapping functions of HIFs in bone. These studies suggest that activation of the HIFα pathway in developing bone increases bone modeling events through cell-nonautonomous mechanisms to coordinate the timing, direction, and degree of new blood vessel formation in bone.
Liver IGF-1–deficient (LID) mice have a 75% reduction in circulating IGF-1 levels and, as a result, a fourfold increase in growth hormone (GH) secretion. To block GH action, LID mice were crossed with GH antagonist (GHa) transgenic mice. Inactivation of GH action in the resulting LID + GHa mice led to decreased blood glucose and insulin levels and improved peripheral insulin sensitivity. Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp studies showed that LID mice exhibit severe insulin resistance. In contrast, expression of the GH antagonist transgene in LID + GHa mice led to enhanced insulin sensitivity and increased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in muscle and white adipose tissue. Interestingly, LID + GHa mice exhibit a twofold increase in white adipose tissue mass, as well as increased levels of serum-free fatty acids and triglycerides, but no increase in the triglyceride content of liver and muscle. In conclusion, these results show that despite low levels of circulating IGF-1, insulin sensitivity in LID mice could be improved by inactivating GH action, suggesting that chronic elevation of GH levels plays a major role in insulin resistance. These results suggest that IGF-1 plays a role in maintaining a fine balance between GH and insulin to promote normal carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.
Maternal diabetes and high-fat feeding during pregnancy have been linked to later life outcomes in offspring. To investigate the effects of both maternal and paternal hyperglycemia on offspring phenotypes, we utilized an autosomal dominant mouse model of diabetes (hypoinsulinemic hyperglycemia in Akita mice). We determined metabolic and skeletal phenotypes in wildtype offspring of Akita mothers and fathers.
Both maternal and paternal diabetes resulted in phenotypic changes in wildtype offspring. Phenotypic changes were more pronounced in male offspring than in female offspring. Maternal hyperglycemia resulted in metabolic and skeletal phenotypes in male wildtype offspring. Decreased bodyweight and impaired glucose tolerance were observed as were reduced whole body bone mineral density and reduced trabecular bone mass.
Phenotypic changes in offspring of diabetic fathers differed in effect size from changes in offspring of diabetic mothers. Male wildtype offspring developed a milder metabolic phenotype, but a more severe skeletal phenotype. Female wildtype offspring of diabetic fathers were least affected.
Both maternal and paternal diabetes led to the development of metabolic and skeletal changes in wildtype offspring, with a greater effect of maternal diabetes on metabolic parameters and of paternal diabetes on skeletal development. The observed changes are unlikely to derive from Mendelian inheritance, since the investigated offspring did not inherit the Akita mutation. While fetal programming may explain the phenotypic changes in offspring exposed to maternal diabetes in-utero, the mechanism underlying the effect of paternal diabetes on wildtype offspring is unclear.
Signaling via the type 4-melanocortin receptor (MC4R) is an important determinant of body weight in mice and humans, where loss of function mutations lead to significant obesity. Humans with mutations in the MC4R experience an increase in lean mass. However, the simultaneous accrual of fat mass in such individuals may contribute to this effect via mechanical loading. We therefore examined the relationship of fat mass and lean mass in mice lacking the type-4 melanocortin receptor (MC4RKO). We demonstrate that MC4RKO mice display increased lean body mass. Further, this is not dependent on changes in adipose mass, as MC4RKO mice possess more lean body mass than diet-induced obese (DIO) wild type mice with equivalent fat mass. To examine potential sources of the increased lean mass in MC4RKO mice, bone mass and strength were examined in MC4RKO mice. Both parameters increase with age in MC4RKO mice, which likely contributes to increases in lean body mass. We functionally characterized the increased lean mass in MC4RKO mice by examining their capacity for treadmill running. MC4R deficiency results in a decrease in exercise performance. No changes in the ratio of oxidative to glycolytic fibers were seen, however MC4RKO mice demonstrate a significantly reduced heart rate, which may underlie their impaired exercise performance. The reduced exercise capacity we report in the MC4RKO mouse has potential clinical ramifications, as efforts to control body weight in humans with melanocortin deficiency may be ineffective due to poor tolerance for physical activity.