Telomerase activity promotes osteoblast differentiation by modulating IGF-signaling pathway

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© 2015, The Author(s). The contribution of deficient telomerase activity to age-related decline in osteoblast functions and bone formation is poorly studied. We have previously demonstrated that telomerase over-expression led to enhanced osteoblast differentiation of human bone marrow skeletal (stromal) stem cells (hMSC) in vitro and in vivo. Here, we investigated the signaling pathways underlying the regulatory functions of telomerase in osteoblastic cells. Comparative microarray analysis and Western blot analysis of telomerase-over expressing hMSC (hMSC-TERT) versus primary hMSC revealed significant up-regulation of several components of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling. Specifically, a significant increase in IGF-induced AKT phosphorylation and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity were observed in hMSC-TERT. Enhanced ALP activity was reduced in presence of IGF1 receptor inhibitor: picropodophyllin. In addition, telomerase deficiency caused significant reduction in IGF signaling proteins in osteoblastic cells cultured from telomerase deficient mice (Terc−/−). The low bone mass exhibited by Terc−/− mice was associated with significant reduction in serum levels of IGF1 and IGFBP3 as well as reduced skeletal mRNA expression of Igf1, Igf2, Igf2r,Igfbp5 and Igfbp6. IGF1-induced osteoblast differentiation was also impaired in Terc−/− MSC. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that impaired IGF/AKT signaling contributes to the observed decreased bone mass and bone formation exhibited by telomerase deficient osteoblastic cells.




Saeed, H., Qiu, W., Li, C., Flyvbjerg, A., Abdallah, B. M., & Kassem, M. (2015). Telomerase activity promotes osteoblast differentiation by modulating IGF-signaling pathway. Biogerontology, 16(6), 733–745.

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