The Hormonal Milieu in Early Stages of Bone Cell Differentiation Modifies the Subsequent Sex-Specific Responsiveness of the Developing Bone to Gonadal Steroids



We have established previously that rat bone tissue, as well as rat and human-derived bone cells in culture, show a sex-specific response to gonadal steroids in stimulation of the specific activity of the BB isozyme of creatine kinase (CK) and DNA synthesis. This response could be modified by manipulation of the endocrine environment during early stages in rat development. To further examine the influence of changing hormonal steroid milieu and vitamin D status on the action of gonadal steroids in developing bone tissue, we used two models of ectopic bone formation: demineralized tooth matrix (DTM) implanted under the skin, and femoral bone marrow (BM) transplanted under the kidney capsule of a syngeneic recipient mouse. The response to gonadal steroids in ossicles developed from implanted DTM depended on the recipient's gender; injection of estradiol 17β (E2; 5 μg) into young female mice 21 days after DTM implantation increased, 24 h later, CK activity in the newly formed ossicles by ∼60%, whereas injection of dihydrotestosterone (DHT; 50 μg) had no effect on CK activity. In contrast, in male mice, DHT but not E2 increased CK activity in the ossicles by ∼50%. This sex-specific response was abolished in gonadectomized mice resulting in a similar response of the ossicles to both E2 and DHT. When DTM was implanted into vitamin D-deficient female mice, there was a lower basal CK activity and a significantly diminished response to E2 in the newly formed bone tissues. When BM, which contains mesenchymal and stromal cells and committed osteoprogenitor cells, was transplanted into 6-week-old intact or gonadectomized female or male mice, the response of the newly formed bone ossicles, 21 days after transplantation, to E2 or to DHT was according to the gender of the donor. Bone formed from BM obtained from female mice responded to E2 only and those formed from male BM responded to DHT only. Ossicles developed from BM obtained from gonadectomized mice showed lack of response to either gonadal steroid. Furthermore, only ∼25% of the BM transplants obtained from castrated (CAST) male donors developed into ossicles. Ossicles formed from BM obtained from vitamin D-deficient female donors showed lack of response to gonadal steroids. These findings suggest that the manipulation of the hormonal milieu in early stages of the differentiation sequence of bone cells modifies the subsequent selective responsiveness of the developing bone tissue to gonadal steroids.