Identification and characterization of novel secreted factors involved in bone remodeling

Shek Chim

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    275 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] Bone remodeling is an important process to maintain mechanical integrity. It is accomplished by two important steps, bone resorption followed by new bone formation. Osteoclasts and osteoblasts are the principal cells in bone resorption and bone formation, respectively. A multitude of local and systemic factors regulates this process by controlling the cellular activities in bone remodeling compartments (BRC). An imbalance of osteoblastic bone formation and osteoclastic bone destruction will result in the development of skeletal diseases. Recent studies suggested that angiogenesis is closely associated with bone remodeling. The vasculature in bone is important for skeletal development, growth and repair. During endochondral ossification, cartilage is invaded by blood vessels which bring in osteoblast and osteoclast precursor cells, nutrients, growth factors and differentiation factors. During fracture repair, it has been demonstrated that mature osteoclasts produce heparanase which can degrade heparin sulfate proteoglycans, a major component in extracellular matrix (ECM). The process leads to the release of heparin-binding growth factors including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a potent angiogenic factor which contributes largely to local angiogenesis. In recent studies, endothelial cells have been found to produce bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2 and BMP-4 when they are subjected to mechanical stimuli, or a hypoxia environment. Conversely, inhibition of angiogenesis has been shown to prevent fracture healing. In a distraction osteogenesis model, either inhibition of angiogenesis or disruption of the mechanical environment prevents normal osteogenesis and results in fibrous nonunion. .... A total of 42 mice from F1 and F2 generations were genotyped as transgene positive. Preliminary analysis using radiography did not reveal any difference between the gross structures of transgenic and wild type mice. Interestingly, the preliminary histology revealed a decrease in trabecular bone and an increase of lipid space in metaphysis of transgenic mice overexpressing EGFL6. However, further studies will need to be carried out to investigate the role of EGFL6 in angiogenesis and adipogenesis using a transgenic mice model. This will be a prime focus of future work. Collectively, the results presented in this thesis have identified EGFL6, a member of the EGF-like family, as a potential angiogenic factor which may play an important role in bone remodeling. EGFL6 has been found to be expressed highly in calvarial osteoblasts and upregulated during primary murine osteoblast differentiation. EGFL6 has been 8 characterized to be a secreted homomeric complex. More importantly, EGFL6 has been shown to induce angiogenic activity in endothelial cell migration, tube formation and in vivo chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane assay. Furthermore, conditioned medium containing the EGFL6 recombinant protein was shown to induce phosphorylation of ERK in endothelial cells. Inhibition of ERK impaired EGFL6-induced ERK activation and endothelial cell migration. Taken together these studies raise the possibility that EGFL6 has a potential role in angiogenesis, and mediates a paracrine mechanism of cross-talk between vascular endothelial cells and osteoblasts during osteogenesis. An understanding of this process offers the potential to facilitate the development of therapeutic treatments for bone disease.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009


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