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J Biol Chem. 2006 Aug 18;281(33):23698-711. Epub 2006 Jun 20.

The Wnt co-receptor LRP5 is essential for skeletal mechanotransduction but not for the anabolic bone response to parathyroid hormone treatment.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Biomechanics and Biomaterials Research Center, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 46202, USA.


The cell surface receptor, low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5) is a key regulator of bone mass. Loss-of-function mutations in LRP5 cause the human skeletal disease osteoporosis-pseudoglioma syndrome, an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by severely reduced bone mass and strength. We investigated the role of LRP5 on bone strength using mice engineered with a loss-of-function mutation in the gene. We then tested whether the osteogenic response to mechanical loading was affected by the loss of Lrp5 signaling. Lrp5-null (Lrp5-/-) mice exhibited significantly lower bone mineral density and decreased strength. The osteogenic response to mechanical loading of the ulna was reduced by 88 to 99% in Lrp5-/- mice, yet osteoblast recruitment and/or activation at mechanically strained surfaces was normal. Subsequent experiments demonstrated an inability of Lrp5-/- osteoblasts to synthesize the bone matrix protein osteopontin after a mechanical stimulus. We then tested whether Lrp5-/- mice increased bone formation in response to intermittent parathyroid hormone (PTH), a known anabolic treatment. A 4-week course of intermittent PTH (40 microg/kg/day; 5 days/week) enhanced skeletal mass equally in Lrp5-/- and Lrp5+/+ mice, suggesting that the anabolic effects of PTH do not require Lrp5 signaling. We conclude that Lrp5 is critical for mechanotransduction in osteoblasts. Lrp5 is a mediator of mature osteoblast function following loading. Our data suggest an important component of the skeletal fragility phenotype in individuals affected with osteoporosis-pseudoglioma is inadequate processing of signals derived from mechanical stimulation and that PTH might be an effective treatment for improving bone mass in these patients.

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