Exposure to Ambient Temperatures of 93.2°F Could Prevent Osteoporosis

A research team found that exposure to room temperature above 34°C increased bone strength and prevented osteoporosis-related bone density loss. This is thought to be related to the composition of intestinal microbiota.



Characterized by excessive skeletal fragility due to a reduction in bone mass and a change in bone microarchitecture, osteoporosis affects 10 million people in the US and another 44 million have a low bone density.

Although this age-related bone disease is currently incurable, numerous studies have been conducted in recent years on ways to prevent its occurrence. These included new research conducted by the University of Geneva (Switzerland). They have been published in the journal Cell Metabolism and highlighted the role that heat plays in maintaining bone strength and density.

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Stronger and denser bones

The study in mice showed that exposure to ambient temperatures of 34°C (93.2°F) or higher not only increased bone strength but also prevented the loss of bone density characteristic of osteoporosis.

The experiment was initially conducted in newborn mice at a temperature of 34°C. “We found that they had longer and stronger bones, which confirms that bone growth is influenced by ambient temperature,” says Prof. Mirko Trajkovski, who led the study.

The study was then conducted in several groups of adult mice, which were also placed in a warm environment. The scientists found that bone strength and density were significantly improved with unchanged bone size. The researchers then repeated their experience with mice after Oophorectomy (ovary removal surgery), which lead to postmenopausal osteoporosis. “The effect was very interesting,” says Claire Chevalier, the first author of the work. The simple fact that we heated up the environment of our mice protected them from the bone loss typical of osteoporosis”.

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A modification of the intestinal microbiota

How can this be explained? For the authors of the study, it is related to the change in the composition of the intestinal microbiota. To verify this, they transplanted the microbiota from mice living in a 34°C environment to osteoporotic mice.

When it adapts to heat, the microbiota causes a disturbance in the synthesis and degradation of polyamines, molecules involved in aging, and especially in bone health. “Polyamines, therefore, influence the activity of osteoblasts (the cells that build the bone) and reduce the number of osteoclasts (the cells that destroy the bone). With age and menopause, the balance between the activity of osteoclasts and osteoblasts is disturbed,” says Claire Chevalier. However, heat can maintain the balance between these two groups of cells acting on polyamines, which we know are partially regulated by microbiota,” Chevalier said.

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 Could lead to new treatments

Researchers now expect these findings to lead to the development of new treatments for osteoporosis. First objective: Identification of bacteria in the microbiota that plays a role in preventing bone diseases. “We need to refine our analyses, but our aim in the short term would be to identify candidate bacteria and develop various ‘bacterial cocktails’ to treat metabolic and bone diseases such as osteoporosis, but also to improve insulin sensitivity, for example,” conclude the authors.


Warmth Prevents Bone Loss Through the Gut Microbiota



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