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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21168. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021168. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

Osteopenia due to enhanced cathepsin K release by BK channel ablation in osteoclasts.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Institute of Pharmacy, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The process of bone resorption by osteoclasts is regulated by Cathepsin K, the lysosomal collagenase responsible for the degradation of the organic bone matrix during bone remodeling. Recently, Cathepsin K was regarded as a potential target for therapeutic intervention of osteoporosis. However, mechanisms leading to osteopenia, which is much more common in young female population and often appears to be the clinical pre-stage of idiopathic osteoporosis, still remain to be elucidated, and molecular targets need to be identified.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We found, that in juvenile bone the large conductance, voltage and Ca(2+)-activated (BK) K(+) channel, which links membrane depolarization and local increases in cytosolic calcium to hyperpolarizing K(+) outward currents, is exclusively expressed in osteoclasts. In juvenile BK-deficient (BK(-/-)) female mice, plasma Cathepsin K levels were elevated two-fold when compared to wild-type littermates. This increase was linked to an osteopenic phenotype with reduced bone mineral density in long bones and enhanced porosity of trabecular meshwork in BK(-/-) vertebrae as demonstrated by high-resolution flat-panel volume computed tomography and micro-CT. However, plasma levels of sRANKL, osteoprotegerin, estrogene, Ca(2+) and triiodthyronine as well as osteoclastogenesis were not altered in BK(-/-) females.

CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE:

Our findings suggest that the BK channel controls resorptive osteoclast activity by regulating Cathepsin K release. Targeted deletion of BK channel in mice resulted in an osteoclast-autonomous osteopenia, becoming apparent in juvenile females. Thus, the BK(-/-) mouse-line represents a new model for juvenile osteopenia, and revealed the BK channel as putative new target for therapeutic controlling of osteoclast activity.

PMID:
21695131
PMCID:
PMC3114853
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0021168
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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