Hedgehog signaling regulates bone homeostasis through orchestrating osteoclast differentiation and osteoclast–osteoblast coupling

Weiguang Lu, Chao Zheng, Hongyang Zhang, Pengzhen Cheng, Sheng Miao, Huanbo Wang, Ting He, Jing Fan, Yaqian Hu, He Liu, Liyuan Jia, Xue Hao, Zhuojing Luo, Jiake Xu, Qiang Jie, Liu Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Imbalance of bone homeostasis induces bone degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis. Hedgehog (Hh) signaling plays critical roles in regulating the development of limb and joint. However, its unique role in bone homeostasis remained largely unknown. Here, we found that canonical Hh signaling pathway was gradually augmented during osteoclast differentiation. Genetic inactivation of Hh signaling in osteoclasts, using Ctsk-Cre;Smof/f conditional knockout mice, disrupted both osteoclast formation and subsequent osteoclast–osteoblast coupling. Concordantly, either Hh signaling inhibitors or Smo/Gli2 knockdown stunted in vitro osteoclast formation. Mechanistically, Hh signaling positively regulated osteoclast differentiation via transactivation of Traf6 and stabilization of TRAF6 protein. Then, we identified connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) as an Hh-regulatory bone formation-stimulating factor derived from osteoclasts, whose loss played a causative role in osteopenia seen in CKO mice. In line with this, recombinant CTGF exerted mitigating effects against ovariectomy induced bone loss, supporting a potential extension of local rCTGF treatment to osteoporotic diseases. Collectively, our findings firstly demonstrate that Hh signaling, which dictates osteoclast differentiation and osteoclast–osteoblast coupling by regulating TRAF6 and CTGF, is crucial for maintaining bone homeostasis, shedding mechanistic and therapeutic insights into the realm of osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number171
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Volume80
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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