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Monocyte-Specific Knockout of C/ebpα Results in Osteopetrosis Phenotype, Blocks Bone Loss in Ovariectomized Mice, and Reveals an Important Function of C/ebpα in Osteoclast Differentiation and Function.

  • Chen, Wei1
  • Zhu, Guochun1
  • Jules, Joel1
  • Nguyen, Diep1
  • Li, Yi-Ping1
  • 1 Department of Pathology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA.
Published Article
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Nov 17, 2017
DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3342
PMID: 29149533


CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein α (C/ebpα) is critical for osteoclastogenesis by regulating osteoclast (OC) lineage commitment and is also important for OC differentiation and function in vitro. However, the role of C/ebpα in postnatal skeletal development has not been reported owing to lethality in C/ebpα-/- mice from hypoglycemia within 8 hours after birth. Herein, we generated conditional knockout mice by deleting the C/ebpα gene in monocyte via LysM-Cre to examine its role in OC differentiation and function. C/ebpαf/f LysM-Cre mice exhibited postnatal osteopetrosis due to impaired osteoclastogenesis, OC lineage priming defects, as well as defective OC differentiation and activity. Furthermore, our ex vivo analysis demonstrated that C/ebpα conditional deletion significantly reduced OC differentiation, maturation, and activity while mildly repressing macrophage development. At the molecular level, C/ebpα deficiency significantly suppresses the expressions of OC genes associated with early stages of osteoclastogenesis as well as genes associated with OC differentiation and activity. We also identified numerous C/ebpα critical cis-regulatory elements on the Cathepsin K promoter that allow C/ebpα to significantly upregulate Cathepsin K expression during OC differentiation and activity. In pathologically induced mouse model of osteoporosis, C/ebpα deficiency can protect mice against ovariectomy-induced bone loss, uncovering a central role for C/ebpα in osteolytic diseases. Collectively, our findings have further established C/ebpα as a promising therapeutic target for bone loss by concurrently targeting OC lineage priming, differentiation, and activity. © 2017 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

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