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WNT16 overexpression partly protects against glucocorticoid-induced bone loss

Journal article
Authors Claes Ohlsson
Karin H. Nilsson
Petra Henning
Jianyao Wu
Karin L. Gustafsson
Matti Poutanen
Ulf H Lerner
Sofia Moverare-Skrtic
Published in American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume 314
Issue 6
Pages E597-E604
ISSN 0193-1849
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine
Centre for Bone and Arthritis Research
Pages E597-E604
Language en
Keywords glucocorticoids, secondary osteoporosis, transgenic mice, WNT, osteoblast-like cells, induced osteoporosis, receptor-beta, corticosteroid-therapy, vertebral fracture, mineral density, messenger-rna, mice, differentiation, expression
Subject categories Orthopedics, Endocrinology and Diabetes


Therapeutic use of glucocorticoids (GCs) is a major cause of secondary osteoporosis, but the molecular mechanisms responsible for the deleterious effects of GCs in bone are only partially understood. WNT16 is a crucial physiological regulator of bone mass and fracture susceptibility, and we hypothesize that disturbed WNT16 activity might be involved in the deleterious effects of GC in bone. Twelve-week-old female Obl-Wnt16 mice (WNT16 expression driven by the rat procollagen type I alpha 1 promoter) and wild-type (WT) littermates were treated with prednisolone (7.6 or vehicle for 4 wk. We first observed that GC treatment decreased the Wnt16 mRNA levels in bone of female mice (-56.4 +/- 6.1% compared with vehicle, P < 0.001). We next evaluated if WNT16 overexpression protects against GC-induced bone loss. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry analyses revealed that GC treatment decreased total body bone mineral density in WT mice (-3.9 +/- 1.2%, P = 0.028) but not in Obl-Wnt16 mice (+1.3 +/- 1.4%, nonsignificant). Microcomputed tomography analyses showed that GC treatment decreased trabecular bone volume fraction (BV/TV) of the femur in WT mice (P = 0.019) but not in Obl-Wnt16 mice. Serum levels of the bone formation marker procollagen type I N-terminal propeptide were substantially reduced by GC treatment in WT mice (-50.3 +/- 7.0%, P = 0.008) but not in Obl-Wnt16 mice (-3.8 +/- 21.2%, nonsignificant). However, the cortical bone thickness in femur was reduced by GC treatment in both WT mice and Obl-Wnt16 mice. In conclusion. GC treatment decreases Wnt16 mRNA levels in bone and WNT16 overexpression partly protects against GC-induced bone loss.

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