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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011 Jan 28;404(4):1004-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.12.099. Epub 2010 Dec 25.

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) positively regulates osteoblast differentiation via induction of Dlx5-dependent Runx2 expression in MC3T3E1 cells.

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Department of Pharmacology and Dental Therapeutics and BK21, School of Dentistry, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 500-757, Republic of Korea.


This study examined the role of AMPK activation in osteoblast differentiation and the underlining mechanism. An AMPK activator (AICAR or metformin) stimulated osteoblast differentiation with increases in ALP and OC protein production as well as the induction of AMPK phosphorylation in MC3T3E1 cells. In addition, metformin induced the phosphorylation of Smad1/5/8 and expression of Dlx5 and Runx2, whereas compound C or dominant negative AMPK inhibited these effects. Transient transfection studies also showed that metformin increased the BRE-Luc and Runx2-Luc activities, which were inhibited by DN-AMPK or compound C. Down-regulation of Dlx5 expression by siRNA suppressed metformin-induced Runx2 expression. These results suggest that the activation of AMPK stimulates osteoblast differentiation via the regulation of Smad1/5/8-Dlx5-Runx2 signaling pathway.

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