Glucocorticoids induce the differentiation of a mesenchymal progenitor cell line, ROB-C26 into adipocytes and osteoblasts, but fail to induce terminal osteoblast differentiation.

Research paper by Shinsuke S Ito, Naoto N Suzuki, Shigeyuki S Kato, Tomihisa T Takahashi, Minoru M Takagi

Indexed on: 05 Sep '06Published on: 05 Sep '06Published in: BONE


To clarify the effects of glucocorticoids (GCs) on osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation, we investigated the effects of dexamethasone (Dex), a GC analogue on transcription factors for osteoblasts (Runx2, Dlx5 and Osterix) and adipocytes (C/EBPs such as C/EBPalpha, C/EBPbeta and C/EBPdelta, and PPARgamma2), late osteoblastic markers, bone sialoprotein (BSP) and osteocalcin (OC), and adipocyte differentiation-dependent protein, aP2 in a clonal mesenchymal progenitor cell line, ROB-C26 (C26). C26 cells were dose- and time-dependently responsive to Dex in terms of an increase in not only mRNA and protein expressions of the C/EBPs, PPARgamma2 and aP2, but also Runx2, Dlx5, BSP and OC with no induction of Osterix, which is considered to act mainly on terminal osteoblast differentiation. Cycloheximide pretreatment indicated that Dex signaling immediately increases expressions of the C/EBPs and Dlx5, while expressions of the rest of the genes require de novo protein synthesis. Continuous Dex treatment stimulated adipocyte formation, but failed to induce Osterix expression and mineralized matrix formation. However, BMP-2 treatment of Dex-treated cells induced Osterix expression and subsequent mineralized matrix formation. These results indicate that Dex up-regulates the C/EBPs followed by increasing PPARgamma2 and aP2 expressions in C26 cells to induce adipocyte differentiation, while Dex enhances Dlx5 followed by increasing Runx2, BSP and OC expressions at gene and protein levels, but cannot induce Osterix expression, suggesting that Dex does not promote their terminal osteoblast differentiation.