Healthy bone maintains a balance of bone formation mediated by osteoblasts and bone resorption mediated by osteoclasts. Many disease states, including chronic periodontitis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Paget's disease, and cancer metastases develop when osteoclasts are excessively recruited or inappropriately activated. Osteoclasts are constantly made throughout life from hematopoietic stem cells residing in the bone marrow through a series of complex events involving cytokine signaling and the microenvironment. Ca2+ signaling has an essential role in the regulation of osteoclastogenesis. Ca2+ channels activated in response to the depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores have been suggested to mediate Ca2+ signaling in early stages of osteoclast formation. However, the exact molecules and the mechanism by which these channels control Ca2+ signaling in osteoclastogenesis are largely unknown. Using a combination of molecular, cell biological and whole animal studies, we show that the Transient Receptor Potential channel, TRPC1, enhances osteoclastogenesis at an early stage, whereas its inhibitor, the small cytosolic protein, I-mfa has an opposite effect. Enhanced osteoclastogenesis in I-mfa-null mice is corrected in mice lacking both genes indicating that TRPC1-mediated Ca2+ signaling has a dominant effect over I-mfa in osteoclast formation. Therefore, we propose that TRPC1 and I-mfa are essential for osteoclastogenesis by regulating Ca2+ signaling. This hypothesis will be tested by an integrated approach at the molecular, biophysical, cellular, and organismal levels by asking whether and how TRPC1 and I-mfa affect proliferation and "priming" of early osteoclast progenitors (Specific Aim 1), how TRPC1 and I-mfa modulate Ca2+ signaling in osteoclasts (Specific Aims 2 and 3), and whether TRPC1 and I-mfa affect osteoclastogenesis in a cell-autonomous fashion in vivo and in vitro and further, whether they affect osteoclast recruitment in experimentally induced animal models of osteoclastogenesis (Specific Aim 4). Our studies will lead to further understanding of critical pathways in the regulation of osteoclast development and function, which is needed to identify and develop new therapeutic interventions to control osteoclastogenesis and prevent bone loss.
Our studies will work out the molecular mechanisms of Ca2+ signaling in osteoclastogenesis and evaluate these findings in the mouse. Upon successful completion of these studies, we will have a better understanding of the pathways controlling osteoclast formation in vitro and in vivo, that is essential for designing improved therapeutic approaches for major pathological conditions from osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis to chronic periodontitis and cancer metastases.
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