Get access

Sequential Expression of Osteoblast Phenotypic Genes During Medullary Bone Formation and Resorption in Estrogen-Treated Male Japanese Quails


  • Contract grant sponsor: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B); contract grant number: 16791107.

Correspondence to: Shinji Hiyama, Department of Oral Biology, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Hiroshima University, Kasumi 1-2-3, Minami-ku, Hiroshima 734-8553, Japan. E-mail:


Medullary bone is formed reticularly in the bone marrow cavity of the long bones of female birds. Although this bone matrix contains fewer collagen fibers and more acid mucopolysaccharides than cortical bone, it is not clear that the expression pattern of osteoblast phenotypic genes during bone remodeling. Therefore, 17β-estradiol (E2)-treated male Japanese quails were used to examine the temporal expression patterns of osteoblast phenotypic genes, and to simultaneously confirm the morphological changes occurring in the bone marrow cavity during medullary bone formation and resorption. After E2 treatment, bone lining cells proliferated and developed into mature osteoblasts that had intense alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. These cells began to form medullary bone that contained acid mucopolysaccharides and tartrate-resistantacid phosphatase. Runt-related gene 2 (Runx2) mRNA was stably expressed throughout the process. The expression of both ALP and type I collagen mRNAs increased initially, and then rapidly decreased after day 7, while osteoclasts began to resorb medullary bone at day 5. The expression of bone matrix-related genes peaked at day 5, and suddenly decreased at day 7, except for osteopontin. Taken together with these results, the expression patterns of bone matrix-related genes during the later stages might be related to osteoclast activity. Additionally, the constant expression of Runx2 during bone formation and resorption suggested that osteoprogenitor cells always exist in the bone marrow cavity. Therefore, the expression patterns of these genes and the characteristics of bone matrix might extremely be related to the quick remodeling of medullary bone. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 318B:344-352, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.