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J Cell Commun Signal. 2009 Dec;3(3-4):227-38. doi: 10.1007/s12079-009-0076-0. Epub 2009 Oct 28.

Thrombospondin-2 and SPARC/osteonectin are critical regulators of bone remodeling.


Thrombospondin-2 (TSP2) and osteonectin/BM-40/SPARC are matricellular proteins that are highly expressed by bone cells. Mice deficient in either of these proteins show phenotypic alterations in the skeleton, and these phenotypes are most pronounced under conditions of altered bone remodeling. For example, TSP2-null mice have higher cortical bone volume and are resistant to bone loss associated with ovariectomy, whereas SPARC-null mice have decreased trabecular bone volume and fail to demonstrate an increase in bone mineral density in response to a bone-anabolic parathyroid hormone treatment regimen. In vitro, marrow stromal cell (MSC) osteoprogenitors from TSP2-null mice have increased proliferation but delayed formation of mineralized matrix. Similarly, in cultures of SPARC-null MSCs, osteoblastic differentiation and mineralized matrix formation are decreased. Overall, both TSP2 and SPARC positively influence osteoblastic differentiation. Intriguingly, both of these matricellular proteins appear to impact MSC fate through mechanisms that could involve the Notch signaling system. This review provides an overview of the role of TSP2 and SPARC in regulating bone structure, function, and remodeling, as determined by both in vitro and in vivo studies.

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