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Attenuation of WNT signaling by DKK-1 and -2 regulates BMP2-induced osteoblast differentiation and expression of OPG, RANKL and M-CSF

Ken-ichi Fujita1 and Siegfried Janz12*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Genetics, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

2 Department of Pathology, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA

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Molecular Cancer 2007, 6:71  doi:10.1186/1476-4598-6-71

Published: 30 October 2007

Abstract

Background

Enhanced osteoblast-dependent osteoclastogenesis due to inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in bone morphogenic protein (BMP)-driven osteoprogenitors has been repeatedly implicated in the natural history of cancer-associated osteolytic lesions, but the mechanism of this bone loss is poorly understood.

Methods

We examined the impact of secreted Wnt inhibitors from the Dickkopf (Dkk) family on pluripotent mesenchymal cells undergoing BMP2-induced osteoblastic differentiation.

Results

We found that Dkk1 and -2 restored the Wnt3a-dependent reduction of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), Osterix and p53, indicating that mitigated Wnt/β-catenin signaling promotes certain aspects of early osteoblastogenesis through the BMP-p53-Osterix-ALP axis. Dkk1 and -2 increased the expression of the osteoclast differentiation factors, receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) and macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF), upon stimulation with Wnt3a/1,25-dihydroxyvitamine D3 and Wnt3a/BMP2, respectively. The decoy receptor of RANKL, osteoprotegerin (OPG), was down regulated under the latter conditions. These findings indicated that Dkk1 and -2 facilitate osteoclastogenesis by enhancing RANKL/RANK and M-CSF/c-Fms interactions. Dkk4 weakly shared activities of Dkk-1 and -2, whereas Dkk3 was ineffective.

Conclusion

Our results suggest that inhibited Wnt/β-catenin signaling in BMP2-induced osteoprogenitors in vivo promotes, on balance, the heightened formation of osteoclasts. Focally increased Dkk1 production by tumor cells in the bone may thus lead to focal bone loss.