Mechanical modulation of molecular signals which regulate anabolic and catabolic activity in bone tissue

Stefan Judex, Nan Zhong, Maria E. Squire, Kenny Ye, Leah Rae Donahue, Michael Hadjiargyrou, Clinton T. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Identifying the molecular mechanisms that regulate bone's adaptive response to alterations in load bearing may potentiate the discovery of interventions to curb osteoporosis. Adult female mice (BALB/cByJ) were subjected to catabolic (disuse) and anabolic (45 Hz, 0.3g vibration for 10 min/day) signals, and changes in the mRNA levels of thirteen genes were compared to altered indices of bone formation. Age-matched mice served as controls. Following 4 days of disuse, significant (P = 0.05) decreases in mRNA levels were measured for several genes, including collagen type I (-55%), osteonectin (-44%), osterix (-36%), and MMP-2 (-36%) all of which, after 21 days, had normalized to control levels. In contrast, expression of several genes in the vibrated group, which failed to show significant changes at 4 days, demonstrated significant increases after 21 days, including inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) (39%, P = 0.07), MMP-2 (54%), and receptor activator of the nuclear factor kB ligand (RANKL) (32%). Correlations of gene expression patterns across experimental conditions and time points allowed the functional clustering of responsive genes into two distinct groups. Each cluster's specific regulatory role (formation vs. resorption) was reinforced by the 60% suppression of formation rates caused by disuse, and the 55% increase information rates stimulated by mechanical signals (P < 0.05). These data confirm the complexity of the bone remodeling process, both in terms of the number of genes involved, their interaction and coordination of resorptive and formative activity, and the temporal sensitivity of the processes. More detailed spatial and temporal correlations between altered mRNA levels and tissue plasticity may further delineate the molecules responsible for the control of bone mass and morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)982-994
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005


  • Bone adaptation
  • Disuse
  • Gene expression
  • Mechanical loading
  • Osteoporosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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