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J Cell Physiol. 2010 Jun;223(3):779-87. doi: 10.1002/jcp.22095.

Dlx homeobox gene family expression in osteoclasts.

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INSERM, UMR 872, Centre de Recherche des Cordeliers, Paris, France.


Skeletal growth and homeostasis require the finely orchestrated secretion of mineralized tissue matrices by highly specialized cells, balanced with their degradation by osteoclasts. Time- and site-specific expression of Dlx and Msx homeobox genes in the cells secreting these matrices have been identified as important elements in the regulation of skeletal morphology. Such specific expression patterns have also been reported in osteoclasts for Msx genes. The aim of the present study was to establish the expression patterns of Dlx genes in osteoclasts and identify their function in regulating skeletal morphology. The expression patterns of all Dlx genes were examined during the whole osteoclastogenesis using different in vitro models. The results revealed that Dlx1 and Dlx2 are the only Dlx family members with a possible function in osteoclastogenesis as well as in mature osteoclasts. Dlx5 and Dlx6 were detected in the cultures but appear to be markers of monocytes and their derivatives. In vivo, Dlx2 expression in osteoclasts was examined using a Dlx2/LacZ transgenic mouse. Dlx2 is expressed in a subpopulation of osteoclasts in association with tooth, brain, nerve, and bone marrow volumetric growths. Altogether the present data suggest a role for Dlx2 in regulation of skeletal morphogenesis via functions within osteoclasts.

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