Katherine Motyl, PhD
Faculty Scientist II
Center for Molecular Medicine

Motyl Lab

Furthering our understanding of the brain-bone-metabolism connection.

The Motyl laboratory is broadly interested in how the nervous system regulates bone turnover. Bone is a dynamic tissue, which is constantly being broken down (bone resorption) and rebuilt (bone formation). Many local and systemic factors regulate bone turnover, including signals from the nervous system. We have specific interests in understanding the role of bone-resorbing osteoclasts in neural-mediated bone changes, and identifying feedback loops regulating neural output to bone. Our work has implications for the natural aging process, as well as for people taking medications that influence the central nervous system, like β-blockers and opioids.

Motyl Lab Osteoclast

Confocal image of an osteoclast expressing β-adrenergic receptor. Cells were isolated from the bone marrow of 6-week old mice and cultured for five days in osteoclast-differentiation media. Images were acquired at 63x magnification and staining was performed for the following: DAPI (nucleus; blue), Phalloidin (F-actin; green), and β-adrenergic receptor (anti-β-adrenergic receptor antibody; red). Pictured are three individual fluorescence channels and a composite overlay of all channels (bottom right corner). Osteoclasts form when precursor cells fuse together, resulting in large multinucleated cells that form a “sealing zone” and release several factors that break down the bone matrix.

To learn more about these and other projects in the Motyl lab, please see our publications or contact Dr. Motyl directly at Katherine.Motyl@mainehealth.org. You can also follow the lab on Twitter at @MotylLab.

The Motyl Lab Science Sketch video below demonstrates how the metabolic consequences of antipsychotic drugs relate to changes in bone remodeling.