It is widely accepted that physiological mechanical stimulation suppresses apoptosis and induces synthesis of extracellular matrix by osteoblasts; however, the effect of stress overloading on osteoblasts has not been fully illustrated. In the present study, we investigated the effect of cyclic compressive stress on rat osteoblasts apoptosis, using a novel liquid drop method to generate mechanical stress on osteoblast monolayers. After treatment with different levels of mechanical stress, apoptosis of osteoblasts and activations of mitogenactivated protein kinases (MAPKs) and PI3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathways were investigated. Osteoblasts apoptosis was observed after treated with specific inhibitors prior to mechanical stimulation. Protein levels of Bax/Bcl-2/caspase-3 signaling were determined using western blot with or without inhibitors of PI3K/Akt and phosphorylation of c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) MAPK. Results showed that mechanical stimulation led to osteoblasts apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner and a remarkable activation of MAPKs and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways. Activation of PI3K/Akt protected against apoptosis, whereas JNK MAPK increased apoptosis via regulation of Bax/Bcl-2/caspase-3 activation. In summary, the PI3K/Akt and JNK MAPK signaling pathways played opposing roles in osteoblasts apoptosis, resulting in inhibition of apoptosis upon small-magnitude stress and increased apoptosis upon large-magnitude stress.
Song, F., Wang, Y., Jiang, D., Wang, T., Zhang, Y., Ma, H., & Kang, Y. (2016). Cyclic compressive stress regulates apoptosis in rat osteoblasts: Involvement of PI3K/Akt and JNK MAPK Signaling pathways. PLoS ONE, 11(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165845