Mechanical signal transduction in bone tissue begins with load-induced activation of several cellular pathways in the osteocyte population. A key pathway that participates in mechanotransduction is Wnt/Lrp5 signaling. A putative downstream mediator of activated Lrp5 is the nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein β-catenin (βcat), which migrates to the nucleus where it functions as a transcriptional co-activator. We investigated whether osteocytic βcat participates in Wnt/Lrp5-mediated mechanotransduction by conducting ulnar loading experiments in mice with or without chemically induced βcat deletion in osteocytes. Mice harboring βcat floxed loss-of-function alleles (βcatf/f) were bred to the inducible osteocyte Cre transgenic 10 kbDmp1-CreERt2. Adult male mice were induced to recombine the βcat alleles using tamoxifen, and intermittent ulnar loading sessions were applied over the following week. Although adult-onset deletion of βcat from Dmp1-expressing cells reduced skeletal mass, the bone tissue was responsive to mechanical stimulation as indicated by increased relative periosteal bone formation rates in recombined mice. However, load-induced improvements in cross sectional geometric properties were compromised in recombined mice. The collective results indicate that the osteoanabolic response to loading can occur on the periosteal surface when β-cat levels are significantly reduced in Dmp1-expressing cells, suggesting that either (i) only low levels of β-cat are required for mechanically induced bone formation on the periosteal surface, or (ii) other additional downstream mediators of Lrp5 might participate in transducing load-induced Wnt signaling.
- Mechanical strain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism