Mol Med Rep 8:823 (2013)

Adipocytes regulate the bone marrow microenvironment in a mouse model of obesity.

Xu F1, Du Y, Hang S, Chen A, Guo F, Xu T.


Obesity is markedly associated with abnormal bone density indicating the importance of adipocytes in bone metabolism. However, the specific function of adipocytes remains unclear, with marked discrepancies in observations of previous studies. In the present study, the effect of adipocytes on osteoblasts/osteoclasts was analyzed. A mouse model of obesity was established and an in vitro co-culture system was utilized containing adipocyte and MC3T3/RAW 264.7 cells in a Transwell plate. Compared with control mice, obese mice exhibited low body weight and bone mineral density of the tibia and fat cells were observed to accumulate in bone marrow. MC3T3/RAW 264.7 cells were co-cultured with adipocytes and the mRNA and protein expression of alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin was found to be decreased in MC3T3-E1 cells and mRNA and protein expression of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase and cathepsin K was significantly increased in RAW 264.7 cells. In addition, the effect of adipocytes on the osteoprotegerin (OPG)/receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL)/RANK system indicated that the RANKL/OPG ratio secreted by osteoblasts increased and RANK expression by osteoclasts increased, leading to increased osteoclastogenesis. These results indicate that bone metabolism is impaired in obese mice leading to decreased osteoblastogenesis and marked increases in osteoclastogenesis and low bone mass.

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