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J Bone Miner Res. 2004 Oct;19(10):1661-70. Epub 2004 Jul 14.

Unmasking the osteoinductive effects of a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) kinase (GRK) inhibitor by treatment with PTH(1-34).

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Duke University, Durham VA Medical Centers, Durham, North Carolina, USA.


The effects of GPCR systems in bone are regulated by a family of enzymes termed GRKs. We found that (1) GRK inhibition in osteoblasts has age-dependent effects on bone mass, and (2) the anabolic actions of GRK inhibition are revealed by treatment with PTH(1-34).


The effects of G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) systems in bone are modulated by a family of enzymes termed GPCR kinases (GRKs). These enzymes directly phosphorylate GPCR substrate and desensitize receptor signaling. We previously found that expression of a GRK inhibitor in osteoblasts using transgenic (TG) technologies enhanced bone remodeling, and in turn, increased BMD in 6-week-old TG mice compared with non-TG littermate controls, presumably because of enhanced GPCR function. The aim of this study was to determine the age-dependent effects of the transgene.


BMD was monitored in TG mice and in controls at 6-week, 3-month, and 6-month time-points. To determine if the transgene enhanced responsiveness of bone to parathyroid hormone (PTH), we measured cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) generation by mouse calvaria ex vivo as well as the effects of treatment with PTH(1-34) on BMD, bone histomorphometry, and expression of the PTH-responsive gene RANKL in both TG mice and non-TG controls.


Consistent with our previous findings, we found that BMD was increased in TG mice compared with controls at 6 weeks of age. The increase in BMD was most prominent in trabecular-rich lumbar spine and was not observed in cortical bone of the femoral shaft. In contrast to younger animals, however, BMD in older TG mice was not statistically different compared with non-TG mice at 3 months of age and was similar to non-TG animals at 6 months of age. The GRK inhibitor seemed to promote GPCR activation in older mice, however, because (1) PTH-induced cAMP generation by mouse calvaria ex vivo was enhanced in TG mice compared with controls, (2) GRK inhibition increased responsiveness of lumbar spine to the osteoinductive actions of PTH(1-34), and (3) the enhanced anabolic effect of PTH(1-34) was associated with increased expression of the PTH-responsive gene RANKL in calvaria of the TG animals. Bone histomorphometry confirmed that PTH(1-34) increased trabecular bone volume in TG mice and found that this increase in bone mass was caused by enhanced bone formation, predominantly as a result of an increase in the mineral apposition rate (MAR).


These data suggest that the anabolic effects of GRK inhibition are age dependent. The osteoinductive actions of the GRK inhibitor are, however, unmasked by treatment with PTH(1-34).

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