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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2010 Sep;88(9):929-36. doi: 10.1139/y10-070.

Extracellular glutamate alters mature osteoclast and osteoblast functions.

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Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, 699 Concession Street, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Glutamatergic intercellular communication is involved in many aspects of metabolic homeostasis in normal bone. In bone metastasis, the balance between bone formation and degradation is disrupted. Although the responsible mechanisms are not clear, we have previously identified that cancer cell lines used in bone tumour models secrete glutamate, suggesting that tumour-derived glutamate may disrupt sensitive signalling systems in bone. This study examines the role of glutamate in mature osteoclastic bone resorption, osteoblast differentiation, and bone nodule formation. Glutamate was found to have no effect on the survival or activity of mature osteoclasts, although glutamate transporter inhibition and receptor blockade increased the number of bone resorption pits. Furthermore, transporter inhibition increased the area of resorbed bone while significantly decreasing the number of osteoclasts. Alkaline phosphatase activity and extracellular matrix mineralization were used as measurements of osteoblast differentiation. Glutamate significantly increased osteoblast differentiation and mineralization, but transport inhibitors had no effect. These studies support earlier findings suggesting that glutamate may be more important for osteoclastogenesis than for osteoclast proliferation or functions. Since glutamate is capable of changing the differentiation and activities of both osteoclast and osteoblast cell types in bone, it is reasonable to postulate that tumour-derived glutamate may impact bone homeostasis in bone metastasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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