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J Cell Physiol. 2013 Nov;228(11):2167-74. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24388.

1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 stimulates activin A production to fine-tune osteoblast-induced mineralization.

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  • 1Departments of Internal Medicine, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


In healthy bones, mineralization has to be tightly controlled to avoid pathological phenotypes. In this study, we investigated interactions between 1α,25(OH)2 D3 (1,25D3) and activin A in the regulation of osteoblast induced mineralization. In human osteoblast cultures, we demonstrated that besides stimulation of mineralization, 1,25D3 also induced activin A, a strong inhibitor of mineralization. Simultaneously, follistatin (FST), the natural antagonist of activin A, was down-regulated by1,25D3. This resulted in an increase in activin A activity during 1,25D3 treatment. We also showed that in 1,25D3-treated osteoblasts, mineralization can be further increased when activin A activity was abrogated by adding exogenous FST. This observation implies that, besides stimulation of mineralization, 1,25D3 also controls activin A-mediated inhibition of mineralization. Besides activin A, 1,25D3 also induces osteocalcin (BGLAP), another inhibitor of mineralization. Warfarin, which has been shown to inactivate osteocalcin, increased 1,25D3-induced mineralization. Interaction between these two systems became evident from the synergistic increase in BGLAP expression upon blocking activin activity in 1,25D3-treated cultures. In conclusion, we demonstrate that 1,25D3 stimulation of mineralization by human osteoblasts is suppressed by concomitant induction of inhibitors of mineralization. Mineralization induction by 1,25D3 may actually be controlled via interplay with activin A and osteocalcin. Finally, this complex regulation of mineralization substantiates the significance of tight control of mineralization to prevent excessive mineralization and consequently reduction in bone quality and strength.

Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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