PTH Stimulates Bone Formation in Mice Deficient in Lrp5


  • Drs Brommage, Liu, and Hanson are employees of Lexicon Genetics. All other authors state that they have no conflicts of interest.


Lrp5 deficiency decreases bone formation and results in low bone mass. This study evaluated the bone anabolic response to intermittent PTH treatment in Lrp5-deficient mice. Our results indicate that Lrp5 is not essential for the stimulatory effect of PTH on cancellous and cortical bone formation.

Introduction: Low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein 5 (Lrp5), a co-receptor in canonical Wnt signaling, increases osteoblast proliferation, differentiation, and function. The purpose of this study was to use Lrp5-deficient mice to evaluate the potential role of this gene in mediating the bone anabolic effects of PTH.

Materials and Methods: Adult wildtype (WT, 23 male and 25 female) and Lrp5 knockout (KO, 27 male and 26 female) mice were treated subcutaneously with either vehicle or 80 μg/kg human PTH(1-34) on alternate days for 6 weeks. Femoral BMC and BMD were determined using DXA. Lumbar vertebrae were processed for quantitative bone histomorphometry. Bone architecture was evaluated by μCT. Data were analyzed using a multiway ANOVA.

Results: Cancellous and cortical bone mass were decreased with Lrp5 deficiency. Compared with WT mice, cancellous bone volume in the distal femur and the lumbar vertebra in Lrp5 KO mice was 54% and 38% lower, respectively (p < 0.0001), whereas femoral cortical thickness was 11% lower in the KO mice (p < 0.0001). The decrease in cancellous bone volume in the lumbar vertebrae was associated with a 45% decrease in osteoblast surface (p < 0.0001) and a comparable decrease in bone formation rate (p < 0.0001). Osteoclast surface, an index of bone resorption, was 24% lower in Lrp5 KO compared with WT mice (p < 0.007). Treatment of mice with PTH for 6 weeks resulted in a 59% increase in osteoblast surface (p < 0.0001) and a 19% increase in osteoclast surface (p = 0.053) in both genotypes, but did not augment cancellous bone volume in either genotype. Femur cortical thickness was 11% higher in PTH-treated mice in comparison with vehicle-treated mice (p < 0.0001), regardless of genotype.

Conclusions: Whereas disruption of Lrp5 results in decreased bone mass because of decreased bone formation, Lrp5 does not seem to be essential for the stimulatory effects of PTH on cancellous and cortical bone formation.