Estrogen receptor α mediates proliferation of osteoblastic cells stimulated by estrogen and mechanical strain, but their acute down-regulation of the Wnt antagonist Sost is mediated by estrogen receptor β

Gabriel L. Galea, Lee B. Meakin, Toshihiro Sugiyama, Noureddine Zebda, Andrew Sunters, Hanna Taipaleenmaki, Gary S. Stein, Andre J. Van Wijnen, Lance E. Lanyon, Joanna S. Price

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67 Scopus citations


Mechanical strain and estrogens both stimulate osteoblast proliferation through estrogen receptor (ER)-mediated effects, and both down-regulate the Wnt antagonist Sost/sclerostin. Here, we investigate the differential effects of ERα and -β in these processes in mouse long bone-derived osteoblastic cells and human Saos-2 cells. Recruitment to the cell cycle following strain or 17 β -estradiol occurs within 30 min, as determined by Ki-67 staining, and is prevented by the ERβ antagonist 1,3-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-4-methyl- 5-[4-(2-piperidinylethoxy)phenol]-1H-pyrazole dihydrochloride. ERβ inhibition with 4-[2-phenyl-5,7-bis(trifluoromethyl)pyrazolo[ 1,5-β]pyrimidin-3-yl] phenol (PTHPP) increases basal proliferation similarly to strain or estradiol. Both strain and estradiol down-regulate Sost expression, as does in vitro inhibition or in vivo deletion of ERβ. The ERβ agonists 2,3-bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)-propionitrile and ERB041 also down-regulated Sost expression in vitro, whereas the ERβ agonist 4,4′,4″-[4-propyl-(1H)-pyrazol- 1,3,5-triyl]tris-phenol or the ERβ antagonist PTHPP has no effect. Tamoxifen, a nongenomic ERβ agonist, down-regulates Sost expression in vitro and in bones in vivo. Inhibition of both ERs with fulvestrant or selective antagonism of ERβ, but not ERβ, prevents Sost down-regulation by strain or estradiol. Sost down-regulation by strain or ERβ activation is prevented by MEK/ERK blockade. Exogenous sclerostin has no effect on estradiol-induced proliferation but prevents that following strain. Thus, in osteoblastic cells the acute proliferative effects of both estradiol and strain are ERβ- mediated. Basal Sost down-regulation follows decreased activity of ERα and increased activity of ERβ. Sost down-regulation by strain or increased estrogens is mediated by ERβ, not ERα. ER-targeting therapy may facilitate structurally appropriate bone formation by enhancing the distinct ligand-independent, strain-related contributions to proliferation of both ER α and ERβ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9035-9048
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 29 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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