Cthrc1 is a positive regulator of osteoblastic bone formation.
ABSTRACT: Bone mass is maintained by continuous remodeling through repeated cycles of bone resorption by osteoclasts and bone formation by osteoblasts. This remodeling process is regulated by many systemic and local factors.We identified collagen triple helix repeat containing-1 (Cthrc1) as a downstream target of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP2) in osteochondroprogenitor-like cells by PCR-based suppression subtractive hybridization followed by differential hybridization, and found that Cthrc1 was expressed in bone tissues in vivo. To investigate the role of Cthrc1 in bone, we generated Cthrc1-null mice and transgenic mice which overexpress Cthrc1 in osteoblasts (Cthrc1 transgenic mice). Microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) and bone histomorphometry analyses showed that Cthrc1-null mice displayed low bone mass as a result of decreased osteoblastic bone formation, whereas Cthrc1 transgenic mice displayed high bone mass by increase in osteoblastic bone formation. Osteoblast number was decreased in Cthrc1-null mice, and increased in Cthrc1 transgenic mice, respectively, while osteoclast number had no change in both mutant mice. In vitro, colony-forming unit (CFU) assays in bone marrow cells harvested from Cthrc1-null mice or Cthrc1 transgenic mice revealed that Cthrc1 stimulated differentiation and mineralization of osteoprogenitor cells. Expression levels of osteoblast specific genes, ALP, Col1a1, and Osteocalcin, in primary osteoblasts were decreased in Cthrc1-null mice and increased in Cthrc1 transgenic mice, respectively. Furthermore, BrdU incorporation assays showed that Cthrc1 accelerated osteoblast proliferation in vitro and in vivo. In addition, overexpression of Cthrc1 in the transgenic mice attenuated ovariectomy-induced bone loss.Our results indicate that Cthrc1 increases bone mass as a positive regulator of osteoblastic bone formation and offers an anabolic approach for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Project description:Collagen triple helix repeat-containing1 (Cthrc1) has previously been implicated in osteogenic differentiation and positive regulation of bone mass, however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here we characterized the bone phenotype of a novel Cthrc1 null mouse strain using bone histomorphometry, ?CT analysis and functional readouts for bone strength. In male Cthrc1 null mice both trabecular bone as well as cortical bone formation was impaired, whereas in female Cthrc1 null mice only trabecular bone parameters were altered. Novel and highly specific monoclonal antibodies revealed that CTHRC1 is expressed by osteocytes and osteoblasts, but not osteoclasts. Furthermore, Cthrc1 null mice exhibited increased bone resorption with increased number of osteoclast and increased osteoclast activity together with enhanced expression of osteoclastogenic genes such as c-Fos, Rankl, Trap, and Nfatc1. Differentiation of bone marrow-derived monocytes isolated from Cthrc1 null mice differentiated into osteoclasts as effectively as those from wildtype mice. In the presence of CTHRC1 osteoclastogenic differentiation of bone marrow-derived monocytes was dramatically inhibited as was functional bone resorption by osteoclasts. This process was accompanied by downregulation of osteoclastogenic marker genes, indicating that extrinsically derived CTHRC1 is required for such activity. In vitro, CTHRC1 had no effect on osteogenic differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells, however, calvarial osteoblasts from Cthrc1 null mice exhibited reduced osteogenic differentiation compared to osteoblasts from wildtypes. In a collagen antibody-induced arthritis model Cthrc1 null mice suffered significantly more severe inflammation and joint destruction than wildtypes, suggesting that CTHRC1 expressed by the activated synoviocytes has anti-inflammatory effects. Mechanistically, we found that CTHRC1 inhibited NF?B activation by preventing I?B? degradation while also inhibiting ERK1/2 activation. Collectively our studies demonstrate that CTHRC1 secreted from osteocytes and osteoblasts functions as an inhibitor of osteoclast differentiation via inhibition of NF?B-dependent signaling. Furthermore, our data suggest that CTHRC1 has potent anti-inflammatory properties that limit arthritic joint destruction.
Project description:Stimulating bone formation is an important challenge for bone anabolism in osteoporotic patients or to repair bone defects. The osteogenic properties of matrix glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) have been explored; however, the functions of GAGs at the surface of bone-forming cells are less documented. Syndecan-2 is a membrane heparan sulfate proteoglycan that is associated with osteoblastic differentiation. We used a transgenic mouse model with high syndecan-2 expression in osteoblasts to enrich the bone surface with cellular GAGs. Bone mass was increased in these transgenic mice. Syndecan-2 overexpression reduced the expression of receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANKL) in bone marrow cells and strongly inhibited bone resorption. Osteoblast activity was not modified in the transgenic mice, but bone formation was decreased in 4-month-old transgenic mice because of reduced osteoblast number. Increased proteoglycan expression at the bone surface resulted in decreased osteoblastic and osteoclastic precursors in bone marrow. Indeed, syndecan-2 overexpression increased apoptosis of mesenchymal precursors within the bone marrow. However, syndecan-2 specifically promoted the vasculature characterized by high expression of CD31 and Endomucin in 6-week-old transgenic mice, but this was reduced in 12-week-old transgenic mice. Finally, syndecan-2 functions as an inhibitor of Wnt-?-catenin-T-cell factor signaling pathway, activating glycogen synthase kinase 3 and then decreasing the Wnt-dependent production of Wnt ligands and R-spondin. In conclusion, our results show that GAG supply may improve osteogenesis, but also interfere with the crosstalk between the bone surface and marrow cells, altering the supporting function of osteoblasts.
Project description:Congenital osteopenia is a bone demineralization condition that is associated with elevated fracture risk in human infants. Here we show that Runx3, like Runx2, is expressed in precommitted embryonic osteoblasts and that Runx3-deficient mice develop severe congenital osteopenia. Runx3-deficient osteoblast-specific (Runx3(fl/fl)/Col1?1-cre), but not chondrocyte-specific (Runx3(fl/fl)/Col1?2-cre), mice are osteopenic. This demonstrates that an osteoblastic cell-autonomous function of Runx3 is required for proper osteogenesis. Bone histomorphometry revealed that decreased osteoblast numbers and reduced mineral deposition capacity in Runx3-deficient mice cause this bone formation deficiency. Neonatal bone and cultured primary osteoblast analyses revealed a Runx3-deficiency-associated decrease in the number of active osteoblasts resulting from diminished proliferation and not from enhanced osteoblast apoptosis. These findings are supported by Runx3-null culture transcriptome analyses showing significant decreases in the levels of osteoblastic markers and increases in the levels of Notch signaling components. Thus, while Runx2 is mandatory for the osteoblastic lineage commitment, Runx3 is nonredundantly required for the proliferation of these precommitted cells, to generate adequate numbers of active osteoblasts. Human RUNX3 resides on chromosome 1p36, a region that is associated with osteoporosis. Therefore, RUNX3 might also be involved in human bone mineralization.
Project description:We previously found that disruption of two type I BMP receptors, Bmpr1a and Acvr1, respectively, in an osteoblast-specific manner, increased bone mass in mice. BMPR1B, another BMP type I receptor, is also capable of binding to BMP ligands and transduce BMP signaling. However, little is known about the function of BMPR1B in bone. In this study, we investigated the bone phenotype in Bmpr1b null mice and the impacts of loss of Bmpr1b on osteoblasts and osteoclasts. We found that deletion of Bmpr1b resulted in osteopenia in 8-week-old male mice, and the phenotype was transient and gender specific. The decreased bone mass was neither due to the changes in osteoblastic bone formation activity nor osteoclastic bone resorption activity in vivo. In vitro differentiation of Bmpr1b null osteoclasts was increased but resorption activity was decreased. Calvarial pre-osteoblasts from Bmpr1b mutant showed comparable differentiation capability in vitro, while they showed increased BMP-SMAD signaling in culture. Different from calvarial pre-osteoblasts, Bmpr1b mutant bone marrow mesenchymal progenitors showed compromised differentiation in vitro, which may be a reason for the osteopenic phenotype in the mutant mice. In conclusion, our results suggested that BMPR1B plays distinct roles from BMPR1A and ACVR1 in maintaining bone mass and transducing BMP signaling.
Project description:NO/cGMP signaling is important for bone remodeling in response to mechanical and hormonal stimuli, but the downstream mediator(s) regulating skeletal homeostasis are incompletely defined. We generated transgenic mice expressing a partly-activated, mutant cGMP-dependent protein kinase type 2 (PKG2R242Q) under control of the osteoblast-specific Col1a1 promoter to characterize the role of PKG2 in post-natal bone formation. Primary osteoblasts from these mice showed a two- to three-fold increase in basal and total PKG2 activity; they proliferated faster and were resistant to apoptosis compared to cells from WT mice. Male Col1a1-Prkg2R242Q transgenic mice had increased osteoblast numbers, bone formation rates and Wnt/?-catenin-related gene expression in bone and a higher trabecular bone mass compared to their WT littermates. Streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetes suppressed bone formation and caused rapid bone loss in WT mice, but male transgenic mice were protected from these effects. Surprisingly, we found no significant difference in bone micro-architecture or Wnt/?-catenin-related gene expression between female WT and transgenic mice; female mice of both genotypes showed higher systemic and osteoblastic NO/cGMP generation compared to their male counterparts, and a higher level of endogenous PKG2 activity may be responsible for masking effects of the PKG2R242Q transgene in females. Our data support sexual dimorphism in Wnt/?-catenin signaling and PKG2 regulation of this crucial pathway in bone homeostasis. This work establishes PKG2 as a key regulator of osteoblast proliferation and post-natal bone formation.
Project description:Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), a member of the CCN family of proteins, is expressed in skeletal cells, and the ctgf null mutation leads to neonatal lethality due to defects in skeletal development. To define the function of CTGF in the postnatal skeleton, we created transgenic mice overexpressing CTGF under the control of the human osteocalcin promoter. CTGF transgenic female and male mice exhibited a significant decrease in bone mineral density, compared with wild-type littermate controls. Bone histomorphometry revealed that CTGF overexpression caused decreased trabecular bone volume due to impaired osteoblastic activity because mineral apposition and bone formation rates were decreased. Osteoblast and osteoclast number and bone resorption were not altered. Calvarial osteoblasts and stromal cells from CTGF transgenics displayed decreased alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin mRNA levels and reduced bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling mothers against decapentaplegic, Wnt/beta-catenin, and IGF-I/Akt signaling. In conclusion, CTGF overexpression in vivo causes osteopenia, secondary to decreased bone formation, possibly by antagonizing BMP, Wnt, and IGF-I signaling and activity.
Project description:Nuclear factor of activated T-cells (Nfat) c1 to c4 are transcription factors that play an undisputable role in osteoclastogenesis. However, Nfat function in osteoblastic cells is controversial. Constitutive activation of Nfatc1 and c2 in osteoblasts suppresses cell function, although the study of Nfat in vivo has yielded conflicting results. To establish the consequences of Nfatc2 activation in osteoblasts, we generated transgenic mice where a 3.6?kb fragment of the collagen type I ?1 promoter directs expression of a constitutively active Nfatc2 mutant (Col3.6-Nfatc2). The skeletal phenotype of Col3.6-Nfatc2 mice of both sexes and of sex-matched littermate controls was investigated by microcomputed tomography and histomorphometry. Col3.6- Nfatc2 mice were born at the expected Mendelian ratio and appeared normal. Nfatc2 expression was confirmed in parietal bones from 1 and 3 month old transgenic mice. One month old Col3.6-Nfatc2 female mice exhibited cancellous bone compartment osteopenia secondary to a 30% reduction in bone formation. In contrast, cancellous femoral bone volume and bone formation were not altered in male transgenics, whereas osteoblast number was higher, suggesting incomplete osteoblast maturation. Indices of bone resorption were not affected in either sex. At 3 months of age, the skeletal phenotype evolved; and Col3.6-Nfatc2 male mice exhibited vertebral osteopenia, whereas femoral cancellous bone was not affected in either sex. Nfatc2 activation in osteoblasts had no impact on cortical bone structure. Nfatc2 activation inhibited alkaline phosphatase activity and mineralized nodule formation in bone marrow stromal cell cultures. In conclusion, Nfatc2 activation in osteoblasts inhibits bone formation and causes cancellous bone osteopenia.
Project description:Parathyroid hormone (PTH), an important regulator of calcium homeostasis, targets most of its complex actions in bone to cells of the osteoblast lineage. Furthermore, PTH is known to stimulate osteoclastogenesis indirectly through activation of osteoblastic cells. To assess the role of the PTH/PTH-related protein receptor (PPR) in mediating the diverse actions of PTH on bone in vivo, we generated mice that express, in cells of the osteoblastic lineage, one of the constitutively active receptors described in Jansen's metaphyseal chondrodysplasia. In these transgenic mice, osteoblastic function was increased in the trabecular and endosteal compartments, whereas it was decreased in the periosteum. In trabecular bone of the transgenic mice, there was an increase in osteoblast precursors, as well as in mature osteoblasts. Osteoblastic expression of the constitutively active PPR induced a dramatic increase in osteoclast number in both trabecular and compact bone in transgenic animals. The net effect of these actions was a substantial increase in trabecular bone volume and a decrease in cortical bone thickness of the long bones. These findings, for the first time to our knowledge, identify the PPR as a crucial mediator of both bone-forming and bone-resorbing actions of PTH, and they underline the complexity and heterogeneity of the osteoblast population and/or their regulatory microenvironment.
Project description:Bone mass is maintained by balanced activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Lrp4 (low-density lipoprotein receptor related protein 4) is a member of the LDL receptor family, whose mutations have been identified in patients with high-bone-mass disorders, such as sclerosteosis and van Buchem diseases. However, it remains unknown whether and how Lrp4 regulates bone-mass homeostasis in vivo. Here we provide evidence that Lrp4-null mutation or specific mutation in osteoblast-lineage cells increased cortical and trabecular bone mass, which was associated with elevated bone formation and impaired bone resorption. This phenotype was not observed in osteoclast-selective Lrp4 knockout mice. Mechanistic studies indicate that loss of Lrp4 function in osteoblast-lineage cells increased serum levels of sclerostin, a key factor for bone-mass homeostasis that interacts with Lrp4, but abolished the inhibition of Wnt/?-catenin signaling and osteoblastic differentiation by sclerostin. Concomitantly, sclerostin induction of RANKL (receptor activator of nuclear kappa B ligand) was impaired, leading to a lower ratio of RANKL over OPG (osteoprotegerin) (a key factor for osteoclastogenesis). Taken together, these results support the view for Lrp4 as a receptor of sclerostin to inhibit Wnt/?-catenin signaling and bone formation and identify Lrp4 as a critical player in bone-mass homeostasis.
Project description:Mutations in low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6 (LRP6) are associated with human skeletal disorders. LRP6 is required for parathyroid hormone (PTH)-stimulated signaling pathways in osteoblasts. We investigated whether LRP6 in osteoblasts directly regulates bone remodeling and mediates the bone anabolic effects of PTH by specifically deleting LRP6 in mature osteoblasts in mice (LRP6 KO). Three-month-old LRP6 KO mice had a significant reduction in bone mass in the femora secondary spongiosa relative to their wild-type littermates, whereas marginal changes were found in femoral tissue of 1-month-old LRP6 KO mice. The remodeling area of the 3-month-old LRP6 KO mice showed a decreased bone formation rate as detected by Goldner's Trichrome staining and calcein double labeling. Bone histomorphometric and immumohistochemical analysis revealed a reduction in osteoblasts but little change in the numbers of osteoclasts and osteoprogenitors/osteoblast precursors in LRP6 KO mice compared with wild-type littermates. In addition, the percentage of the apoptotic osteoblasts on the bone surface was higher in LRP6 KO mice compared with wild-type littermates. Intermittent injection of PTH had no effect on bone mass or osteoblastic bone formation in either trabecular and cortical bone in LRP6 KO mice, whereas all were enhanced in wild-type littermates. Additionally, the anti-apoptotic effect of PTH on osteoblasts in LRP6 KO mice was less significant compared with wild-type mice. Therefore, our findings demonstrate that LRP6 in osteoblasts is essential for osteoblastic differentiation during bone remodeling and the anabolic effects of PTH.