Different Bone Remodeling Levels of Trabecular and Cortical Bone in Response to Changes in Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling in Mice

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Trabecular bone and cortical bone have different bone remodeling levels, and the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. In the present study, the expression of Wnt/β-catenin signaling and its downstream molecules along with bone mass in trabecular and cortical bone were compared in wild-type mice, constitutive activation of β-catenin (CA-β-catenin) mice and β-catenin deletion mice. It was found that the expression level of most of the examined genes such as Wnt3a, β-catenin, osteocalcin and RANKL/OPG ratio were significantly higher in trabecular bone than in cortical bone in wild-type mice. CA-β-catenin resulted in up-regulated expression of the above-mentioned genes except for RANKL/OPG ratio, which were down-regulated. Also, CA-β-catenin led to increased number of osteoblasts, decreased number of osteoclasts and increased bone mass in both the trabecular bone and cortical bone compared with wild-type mice; however, the extent of changes was much greater in the trabecular bone than in the cortical bone. By contrast, null β-catenin led to down-regulated expression of the above-mentioned genes except for RANKL/OPG ratio. Furthermore, β-catenin deletion led to decreased number of osteoblasts, increased number of osteoclasts and decreased bone mass when compared with wild-type mice. Again, the extent of these changes was more significant in trabecular bone than cortical bone. Taken together, we found that the expression level of Wnt/β-catenin signaling and bone remodeling-related molecules were different in cortical bone and trabecular bone, and the trabecular bone was more readily affected by changes in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. © 2016 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res

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