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Med Sci Monit. 2006 Nov;12(11):BR341-9.

Leptin increases proliferation of human steosarcoma cells through activation of PI(3)-K and MAPK pathways.

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Division of Endocrinology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Serum leptin levels are strongly and directly related to fat body mass (FBM). Bone mineral density (BMD) increases with FBM, and obesity has a protective effect against osteoporosis. We have previously demonstrated that leptin therapy has a significant effect in preventing ovariectomy-induced bone loss in rats and leptin also exerts direct osteogenic effects in vitro. To obtain a better understanding of the physiology and pharmacology of leptin in bone metabolism, we evaluated the leptin-induced signal transduction pathways and proliferative response in the human osteosarcoma cell line Saos-2.


Saos-2 cell lines were used. Leptin receptor common form (OB-Ra) and long form (OB-Rb) were detected by RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry. PI(3)-K activity was immunoprecipitated using antibodies directed against tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins and IRS-1. The activated form of p42/p44 MAPK was investigated in cytosolic extracts of confluent Saos-2 in response to leptin.


In this study, we tested the hypothesis that leptin might be a mediator linking obesity and bone cell proliferation. We found that Saos-2 cells expressed OB-Ra and OB-Rb. Leptin (10 nmol/L - 2 umol/L) caused a significant increase in the activation of PI (3)-K that was accompanied by an increase in cell proliferation dose dependently based on the [3H]-thymidine incorporation. The specific PI (3)-K inhibitors LY294002 and wortmannin blocked leptin-induced cell proliferation. Interestingly, leptin activated MAPK and the specific MAPK-inhibitor PD98059 blocked DNA synthesis induced by leptin.


Our data support the hypothesis that leptin may increase bone mass by stimulating osteoblast proliferation through activation of the P1 (3)-K and MAPK signaling pathways.

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