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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 25;108(43):17767-72. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1109402108. Epub 2011 Oct 11.

Sympathetic control of bone mass regulated by osteopontin.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Medical Research Institute, and Global Center of Excellence Program, International Research Center for Molecular Science in Tooth and Bone Diseases, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, 113-8510 Tokyo, Japan.


The sympathetic nervous system suppresses bone mass by mechanisms that remain incompletely elucidated. Using cell-based and murine genetics approaches, we show that this activity of the sympathetic nervous system requires osteopontin (OPN), a cytokine and one of the major members of the noncollagenous extracellular matrix proteins of bone. In this work, we found that the stimulation of the sympathetic tone by isoproterenol increased the level of OPN expression in the plasma and bone and that mice lacking OPN (OPN-KO) suppressed the isoproterenol-induced bone loss by preventing reduced osteoblastic and enhanced osteoclastic activities. In addition, we found that OPN is necessary for changes in the expression of genes related to bone resorption and bone formation that are induced by activation of the sympathetic tone. At the cellular level, we showed that intracellular OPN modulated the capacity of the β2-adrenergic receptor to generate cAMP with a corresponding modulation of cAMP-response element binding (CREB) phosphorylation and associated transcriptional events inside the cell. Our results indicate that OPN plays a critical role in sympathetic tone regulation of bone mass and that this OPN regulation is taking place through modulation of the β2-adrenergic receptor/cAMP signaling system.

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