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Xiangnan Wu, Yiqiao Wang, Hang Wang, Meirui Ma, Zhichao Hao, and Yuanyuan Ma

Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a widespread hormone in the central and peripheral nervous systems that maintains body homeostasis. Central actions of hypothalamic NPY have been identified in bone metabolism. Osteocytes are the main source of NPY in bone tissue, indicating that osteocytic NPY could be a local alternative pathway for hypothalamic-mediated regulation of bone and bone cells. Here, we show that osteocytic NPY induces cell viability and proliferation. Osteocyte-derived factors are also closely associated with changes in cellular NPY mRNA levels. Furthermore, osteoblast mineralization was significantly induced by conditioned medium collected from NPY-overexpressing osteocytes (P < 0.05). Importantly, the NPY-AHNAK interaction was identified for the first time by Co-Immunoprecipitation, and significant inactivation of p-Smad1/5/9 was found in osteocytes with NPY or AHNAK insufficiency (P < 0.05). The activation of p-Smad1/5/9 reversed NPY insufficiency-caused decreases in the expression of osteocytic PCNA and osteoblast markers including osteocalcin and Runx2 (P < 0.05); these findings showed an additional molecular mechanism by which NPY acts on cells through AHNAK-mediated Smad1/5/9 signalling. Collectively, our findings provide novel insights into the function of NPY in regulating osteocyte phenotype and function and provide new insights for further investigation into osteocytic NPY-mediated therapy.