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Free access

Matthias Laudes

The development of obesity is characterised not only by increased storage of lipids in existing fat cells but also by the generation of new adipocytes from progenitor cells. This process, called adipogenesis, can be divided into two related steps. First, during determination, multipotent mesenchymal stem cells commit to preadipocytes. These cells exhibit similar morphology compared with stem cells; however, they are committed to the adipogenic lineage and are not longer able to transform into osteoblasts, myocytes or chondrocytes. Secondly, during differentiation, preadipocytes become mature fat cells. As in other developmental processes, adipogenesis is tightly regulated at a molecular level by several transcription factors. Within the last decade, it has also become clear how the activity of these transcription factors is coordinated by extracellular signals. In this respect, secreted WNT signalling molecules are particularly important. Several members of the WNT family have been shown to inhibit early steps of adipogenesis. Conversely, endogenous inhibitors of WNT signalling were found to promote generation of adipocytes, indicating a fundamental role of these bioactive peptides in adipogenesis. From a pathophysiological point of view, it is of interest that polymorphisms in genes of the WNT signalling system have been associated with the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans. Moreover, recent findings indicate that certain WNT molecules are involved in the so-called low-grade inflammation of adipose tissue, which is crucial in the development of obesity-associated insulin resistance. These important findings in nutritional and metabolic medicine will be summarised in the present review.

Free access

Andrei S Chagin and Henry M Kronenberg

Herein, we review the regulation of differentiation of the growth plate chondrocytes by G-proteins. In connection with this, we summarize the current knowledge regarding each family of G-protein α subunit, specifically, Gαs, Gαq/11, Gα12/13, and Gαi/o. We discuss different mechanisms involved in chondrocyte differentiation downstream of G-proteins and different G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) activating G-proteins in the epiphyseal chondrocytes. We conclude that among all G-proteins and GPCRs expressed by chondrocytes, Gαs has the most important role and prevents premature chondrocyte differentiation. Receptor for parathyroid hormone (PTHR1) appears to be the major activator of Gαs in chondrocytes and ablation of either one leads to accelerated chondrocyte differentiation, premature fusion of the postnatal growth plate, and ultimately short stature.

Free access

B Horard, B Rayet, G Triqueneaux, V Laudet, F Delaunay and JM Vanacker

Circadian gene expression has been demonstrated in many tissues and involves both positive and negative regulatory loops. The potential interferences of circadian rhythmicity with other well-known biologic rhythms, such as the ovarian cycle, at least in part controlled by estrogens, has not been questioned. The estrogen receptor-related receptor (ERR)alpha is an orphan nuclear receptor that is widely expressed in estrogen-responsive tissues such as liver, uterus and bone. In addition, expression of the ERRalpha gene has been proposed to be transcriptionally controlled by estrogens in the uterus. Here we show that the expression of ERRalpha displays a circadian rhythmicity in liver, bone and uterus. This is in contrast to other uterine estrogen-regulated genes. Analysis of clock/clock mutant mice shows that ERRalpha is an output gene of the circadian clock oscillator. The expression of clock-control genes, such as Bmal1 and Rev-erbalpha, also displays diurnal oscillations in the uterus, but not in bone. In this tissue, however, Per2 displayed a rhythmic expression, altogether suggesting unconventional loops in the regulation of circadian rhythm in bone.

Open access

Fadil M Hannan, Valerie N Babinsky and Rajesh V Thakker

The extracellular calcium (Ca2+ o)-sensing receptor (CaSR) is a family C G protein-coupled receptor, which detects alterations in Ca2+ o concentrations and modulates parathyroid hormone secretion and urinary calcium excretion. The central role of the CaSR in Ca2+ o homeostasis has been highlighted by the identification of mutations affecting the CASR gene on chromosome 3q21.1. Loss-of-function CASR mutations cause familial hypocalciuric hypercalcaemia (FHH), whereas gain-of-function mutations lead to autosomal dominant hypocalcaemia (ADH). However, CASR mutations are only detected in ≤70% of FHH and ADH cases, referred to as FHH type 1 and ADH type 1, respectively, and studies in other FHH and ADH kindreds have revealed these disorders to be genetically heterogeneous. Thus, loss- and gain-of-function mutations of the GNA11 gene on chromosome 19p13.3, which encodes the G-protein α-11 (Gα11) subunit, lead to FHH type 2 and ADH type 2, respectively; whilst loss-of-function mutations of AP2S1 on chromosome 19q13.3, which encodes the adaptor-related protein complex 2 sigma (AP2σ) subunit, cause FHH type 3. These studies have demonstrated Gα11 to be a key mediator of downstream CaSR signal transduction, and also revealed a role for AP2σ, which is involved in clathrin-mediated endocytosis, in CaSR signalling and trafficking. Moreover, FHH type 3 has been demonstrated to represent a more severe FHH variant that may lead to symptomatic hypercalcaemia, low bone mineral density and cognitive dysfunction. In addition, calcimimetic and calcilytic drugs, which are positive and negative CaSR allosteric modulators, respectively, have been shown to be of potential benefit for these FHH and ADH disorders.

Free access

CO Quinn, RA Rajakumar and OA Agapova

Parathyroid hormone (PTH), a powerful bone-resorbing agent, is capable of stimulating interstitial collagenase (MMP-13) mRNA production in osteoblastic cells. In this study, a PEA3 consensus binding sequence (-80; AGGAAGT) in addition to a 'TRE-like' sequence (-89; CGACTCA) in the 5' upstream regulatory region of the rat MMP-13 gene were examined. In response to PTH, there was a time-dependent increase in binding of nuclear factors to an oligonucleotide containing the PEA3 region (-95 to -71). This increase in binding was first observed at 0.5 h, peaked at 4 h (7. 6-fold) then returned to basal levels by 24 h. Mutagenesis of the PEA3 site in a chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) construct containing 5' upstream regulatory sequence of the rat MMP-13 gene significantly decreased activation by PTH. PTH-mediated binding of nuclear factors to an oligonucleotide containing the mutant PEA3 sequence was decreased as compared with the wild type. Mutation or deletion of the TRE-like sequence affected basal as well as PTH-mediated induction of corresponding CAT constructs. Treatment with KN93, a Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II specific inhibitor, greatly reduced the amount of protein binding to the PEA3 region in response to PTH which correlated to a notable decrease in the amount of MMP-13 mRNA produced in response to PTH. Antibodies against Ets-1, cyclic AMP response element (CREB)-binding protein (CBP) and CREB were capable of supershifting proteins binding to the oligonucleotide containing the PEA3 region. These data suggest a possible co-operative interaction of factors binding to the PEA3 and TRE-like sequences and provide the first indication of a role for a calcium-mediated pathway in the PTH induction of MMP-13 mRNA in osteoblastic cells.

Free access

Changgui Shi, Ping Huang, Hui Kang, Bo Hu, Jin Qi, Min Jiang, Hanbing Zhou, Lei Guo and Lianfu Deng

The inhibition of osteoblast proliferation by glucocorticoids (GCs) is very important in the etiology of GC-induced osteoporosis. The mechanisms of this process are still not fully understood. The results of recent studies have indicated an important role for microRNAs in GC-mediated responses in various cellular processes, including cell proliferation and apoptosis. Therefore, we developed the hypothesis that these regulatory molecules might be involved in GC-decreased osteoblast proliferation. Western blotting, quantitative real-time PCR, cell proliferation assays, and luciferase assays were employed to investigate the role of miRNAs in GC-inhibited osteoblast proliferation. microRNA-199a-5p was significantly increased in osteoblasts treated with dexamethasone (Dex). To delineate the role of microRNA-199a-5p, we silenced and overexpressed microRNA-199a-5p in osteoblasts. We found that overexpressing microRNA-199a-5p remarkably increased the inhibition effect of Dex on osteoblast proliferation, and depleting microRNA-199a-5p significantly attenuated Dex-inhibited osteoblast proliferation. Results of mechanistic studies indicated that microRNA-199a-5p inhibited FZD4 and WNT2 expression through a microRNA-199a-5p binding site within the 3′-UTR of FZD4 and WNT2. The post-transcriptional repression of FZD4 and WNT2 were further confirmed by luciferase reporter assay. These results indicated that microRNA-199a-5p may play a significant role in GC-inhibited osteoblast proliferation by regulating the WNT signaling pathway.

Free access

F Varga, S Spitzer, M Rumpler and K Klaushofer

Thyroid hormones are important regulators of bone development and metabolism. We have demonstrated that tri-iodothyronine (T3) increased and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D3) attenuated the T3-stimulated expression of osteocalcin (OCN) in the osteoblast-like cell line MC3T3-E1. By means of transfection of promoter-reporter gene constructs we investigated the basal and the regulated transcription of this gene by both hormones. We found that a 0.67 kbp and a 1.3 kbp fragment of the mouse OCN OG2 promoter containing two Runx2 binding sites were significantly more active than a smaller fragment containing only one Runx2 binding site. The longer promoter fragments showed a higher reporter gene expression when the transfected cells were treated with 10(-7) M T3. This expression was attenuated by 1,25D3 dose-dependently. These fragments contain a sequence homologue to the recently identified binding site for the 1,25D3 receptor (VDR) in the rat OCN promoter. Deletion of a part of the promoter containing this VDR response element-like sequence (VDRE) resulted in a higher basal expression but abrogated the regulation by T3 and 1,25D3. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed that the deleted sequence was able to bind both in vitro-translated chicken thyroid hormone receptor (TR) and proteins from nuclear extracts that reacted with an antiserum against TR. From these data we conclude that the VDRE-like sequence of the OG2 promoter contains a thyroid hormone response element.

Free access

H Tokuda, K Kato, H Natsume, A Kondo, G Kuroyanagi, R Matsushima-Nishiwaki, Y Ito, T Otsuka and O Kozawa

We previously demonstrated that thrombin stimulates synthesis of interleukin 6 (IL6), a potent bone resorptive agent, in part via p44/p42 MAP kinase and p38 MAP kinase but not through stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal kinase (SAPK/JNK) among the MAP kinase superfamily in osteoblast-like MC3T3-E1 cells. In this study, we investigated the involvement of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a regulator of energy metabolism, in thrombin-stimulated IL6 synthesis in MC3T3-E1 cells. The phosphorylation of p44/p42 MAP kinase, p38 MAP kinase, SAPK/JNK, or AMPK was determined by western blot analysis. The release of IL6 was determined by the measurement of IL6 concentration in the conditioned medium using an ELISA kit. The expression of IL6 mRNA was determined by RT-PCR. Thrombin time dependently induced the phosphorylation of AMPK α-subunit (Thr-172). Compound C, an inhibitor of AMPK, dose-dependently suppressed the thrombin-stimulated IL6 release in the range between 0.3 and 10 μM. Compound C reduced thrombin-induced acetyl-CoA carboxylase phosphorylation. The IL6 mRNA expression induced by thrombin was markedly reduced by compound C. Downregulation of AMPK by siRNA suppressed the thrombin-stimulated IL6 release. The thrombin-induced phosphorylation of p44/p42 MAP kinase and p38 MAP kinase was inhibited by compound C, which failed to affect SAPK/JNK phosphorylation. These results strongly suggest that AMPK regulates thrombin-stimulated IL6 synthesis via p44/p42 MAP kinase and p38 MAP kinase in osteoblasts.

Free access

Kent Wehmeier, Luisa M Onstead-Haas, Norman C W Wong, Arshag D Mooradian and Michael J Haas

The vitamin D metabolite 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (24, 25[OH]2D3) was shown to induce nongenomic signaling pathways in resting zone chondrocytes and other cells involved in bone remodeling. Recently, our laboratory demonstrated that 24,25-[OH]2D3 but not 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, suppresses apolipoprotein A-I (apo A-I) gene expression and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) secretion in hepatocytes. Since 24,25-[OH]2D3 has low affinity for the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and little is known with regard to how 24,25-[OH]2D3 modulates nongenomic signaling in hepatocytes, we investigated the capacity of 24,25-[OH]2D3 to activate various signaling pathways relevant to apo A-I synthesis in HepG2 cells. Treatment with 24,25-[OH]2D3 resulted in decreased peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) expression and retinoid-X-receptor alpha (RXRα) expression. Similarly, treatment of hepatocytes with 50 nM 24,25-[OH]2D3 for 1–3 h induced PKCα activation as well as c-jun-N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1) activity and extracellular-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) activity. These changes in kinase activity correlated with changes in c-jun phosphorylation, an increase in AP-1-dependent transcriptional activity, as well as repression of apo A-I promoter activity. Furthermore, treatment with 24,25-[OH]2D3 increased IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 expression by HepG2 cells. These observations suggest that 24,25-[OH]2D3 elicits several novel rapid nongenomic-mediated pro-inflammatory protein kinases targeting AP1 activity, increasing pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, potentially impacting lipid metabolism and hepatic function.

Free access

Su M Hlaing, Leah A Garcia, Jaime R Contreras, Keith C Norris, Monica G Ferrini and Jorge N Artaza

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death worldwide. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with high risk of myocardial infarction, even after controlling for factors associated with coronary artery disease. A growing body of evidence indicates that vitamin D plays an important role in CVD-related signaling pathways. However, little is known about the molecular mechanism by which vitamin D modulates heart development. The WNT signaling pathway plays a pivotal role in tissue development by controlling stem cell renewal, lineage selection and, even more importantly, heart development. In this study, we examined the role of 1,25-D3 (the active form of vitamin D) on cardiomyocyte proliferation, apoptosis, cell phenotype, cell cycle progression and differentiation into cardiomyotubes. We determined that the addition of 1,25-D3 to cardiomyocytes cells: i) inhibits cell proliferation without promoting apoptosis; ii) decreases expression of genes related to the regulation of the cell cycle; iii) promotes formation of cardiomyotubes; iv) induces the expression of casein kinase-1-α1, a negative regulator of the canonical WNT signaling pathway; and v) increases the expression of the noncanonical WNT11, which it has been demonstrated to induce cardiac differentiation during embryonic development and in adult cells. In conclusion, we postulate that vitamin D promotes cardiac differentiation through a negative modulation of the canonical WNT signaling pathway and by upregulating the expression of WNT11. These results indicate that vitamin D repletion to prevent and/or improve cardiovascular disorders that are linked with abnormal cardiac differentiation, such as post infarction cardiac remodeling, deserve further study.