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J Cell Biochem. 2000 Feb;77(1):103-15.

Cloning the full-length cDNA for rat connective tissue growth factor: implications for skeletal development.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA.


The mammalian osteopetroses represent a pathogenetically diverse group of skeletal disorders characterized by excess bone mass resulting from reduced osteoclastic bone resorption. Abnormalities involving osteoblast function and skeletal development have also been reported in many forms of the disease. In this study, we used the rat mutation, osteopetrosis (op), to examine differences in skeletal gene expression between op mutants and their normal littermates. RNA isolated from calvaria and long bones was used as a template for mRNA-differential display. Sequence information for one of the many cDNA that were selectively expressed in either normal or mutant bone suggested that it is the rat homologue of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) previously cloned in the human, mouse, and other species. A consensus sequence was assembled from overlapping 5'-RACE clones and used to confirm the rat CTGF cDNA protein coding region. Northern blot analysis confirmed that this message was highly (8- to 10-fold) over-expressed in op versus normal bone; it was also upregulated in op kidney but none of the other tissues (brain, liver, spleen, thymus) examined. In primary rat osteoblast cultures, the CTGF message exhibits a temporal pattern of expression dependent on their state of differentiation. Furthermore, CTGF expression is regulated by prostaglandin E(2), a factor known to modulate osteoblast differentiation. Since members of the CTGF family regulate the expression of specific genes, such as collagen and fibronectin, we propose that CTGF may play a previously unreported role in normal skeletal modeling/remodeling. Its dramatic over-expression in the op mutant skeleton may be secondary to the uncoupling of bone resorption and bone formation resulting in dysregulation of osteoblast gene expression and function.

Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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