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Keywords:

  • ESTROGEN;
  • OSTEOBLAST;
  • OSTEOCLAST;
  • MMP3;
  • FAS LIGAND

Abstract

The benefits of estrogens on bone health are well established; how estrogens signal to regulate bone formation and resorption is less well understood. We show here that 17β-estradiol (E2)-induced apoptosis of bone-resorbing osteoclasts is mediated by cleavage and solubilization of osteoblast-expressed Fas ligand (FasL). U2OS-ERα osteoblast-like cells expressing an EGFP-tagged FasL at the C-terminus showed decreased fluorescence after E2 treatment, indicative of a cleavage event. Treatment of U2OS-ERα cultures with a specific MMP3 inhibitor in the presence of E2 blocked FasL cleavage and showed an increase in the number of EGFP-FasL+ cells. siRNA experiments successfully knocked down MMP3 expression and restored full-length FasL to basal levels. E2 treatment of both human and murine primary osteoblasts showed upregulation of MMP3 mRNA expression, and calvarial organ cultures showed increased expression of MMP3 protein and colocalization with the osteoblast-specific RUNX2 after E2 treatment. In addition, osteoblast cell cultures derived from ERαKO mice showed decreased expression of MMP3 but not MMP7 and ADAM10, two known FasL proteases, demonstrating that ERα signaling regulates MMP3. Also, conditioned media of E2-treated calvarial osteoblasts showed an approximate sixfold increase in the concentration of soluble FasL, indicating extensive cleavage, and soluble FasL concentrations were reduced in the presence of a specific MMP3 inhibitor. Finally, to show the role of soluble FasL in osteoclast apoptosis, human osteoclasts were cocultured with MC3T3 osteoblasts. Both a specific MMP3 inhibitor and an MMP inhibitor cocktail preserved osteoclast differentiation and survival in the presence of E2 and demonstrate the necessity of MMP3 for E2-induced osteoclast apoptosis. These experiments further define the molecular mechanism of estrogen's bone-protective effects by inducing osteoclast apoptosis through upregulation of MMP3 and FasL cleavage. © 2013 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research