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PLoS One. 2016 Mar 17;11(3):e0150805. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150805. eCollection 2016.

The RIP1-RIP3 Complex Mediates Osteocyte Necroptosis after Ovariectomy in Rats.

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Department of Orthopaedics, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China.
Department of Nephrology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China.


Osteocyte apoptosis has been reported to play a central role in bone remodeling. In addition to apoptosis, other mechanisms may be involved in osteocyte loss. This study aimed to investigate the effect of necroptosis on osteocytes in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Ninety-six female Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into an OVX group and a sham group. At 0, 4, 8 and 12 weeks after surgery, specimens from each group (n = 12 each) were harvested. Bone mineral density (BMD) and body weight were measured. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and micro-CT were used to observe the changes in cellular morphology and bone microarchitecture induced by estrogen deficiency. Osteocyte apoptosis and necroptosis were evaluated via TUNEL and immunofluorescence staining for active caspase-3. At 8 weeks after ovariectomy, a greater number of osteocytes with typical necrotic morphological features were TUNEL positive but negative for active caspase-3. Western blotting, quantitative real-time PCR and immunofluorescence assessments demonstrated that the levels of receptor-interacting serine/threonine protein kinase 1 (RIP1) and RIP3 in osteocytes were significantly increased at 8 weeks after ovariectomy. These data are the first to suggest that necroptosis accelerates osteocyte loss under conditions of estrogen deficiency-induced osteoporosis in OVX rats. These findings provide evidence of a potential mechanism through which osteocyte necroptosis is associated with postmenopausal osteoporosis.

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