The discovery of modulators of bone remodeling is crucial to developing new treatments for osteoporosis. The transient receptor potential melastatin 8 (TRPM8, a.k.a the cold and menthol receptor) is a voltage-gated cation channel that is open below 26C. Neural TRPM8 is important for cold sensation, cold pain and cold analgesia, and thermogenesis. However, a non-neuronal role for TRPM8 is beginning to emerge. Adult Trpm8- /- mice have reduced trabecular bone volume fraction in the vertebrae and to a lesser extent in the long bones. This could be due to suppressed bone formation and/or increased bone resorption. In vitro, we found no difference in Trpm8-/- osteoclast differentiation compared to wildtype. Alternately, Trpm8-/- bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) and calvarial osteoblasts (OB) have reduced differentiation. Consistent with the in vivo phenotype of reduced bone marrow adiposity, BMSCs and ear MSCs (eMSCs) fail to fully differentiate into adipocytes in vitro. This novel finding demonstrates there is a significant defect in differentiation into eiter OBs or adipocytes. However, the majority of TRPM8 expression in vivo is on sensory neurons and we have evidence that neurons expressing TRPM8 are present in the bone marrow cavity. These could influence osteoblasts through paracrine pathways. My overarching hypotheses are that TRPM8 supports osteoblast and adipocyte differentiation through its direct expression in MSC-derived precursors (Aim 1) and that neural TRPM8 supports osteoblast differentiation through paracrine mechanisms (Aim 2). Finally, I will utilize novel Trpm8fl/fl mice to selectively delete Trpm8 in mesenchymal cells versus sensory neurons (Aim 3), where I will be able to delineate the extent to which each cell type contributes to the reduced bone mass phenotype.
SPECIFIC AIM 1 : In this aim, I will test the hypothesis that TRPM8 signaling in mesenchymal cells activates PKA to promote adipocyte and osteoblast differentiation utilizing shRNA and calcium flux analyses.
SPECIFIC AIM 2 : Despite striking in vitro differences in MSC differentiation in the absence of TRPM8, the majority of TRPM8 expression in vivo is on sensory neurons.
Aim 2 a: Test the hypothesis that sensory neurons expressing TRPM8 are present in bone.
Aim 2 b: Test the hypothesis that TRPM8 activation in sensory neurons supports osteoblast differentiation through dendrite:osteoblast contact.
SPECIFIC AIM 3 : Trpm8fl/fl mice will be crossed with SynapsinCre/+ and Prrx1Cre/+ mice to test whether effects of in vivo Trpm8 deletion are mediated through neural or osteoblast TRPM8 expression, respectively. The proposed experiments will identify mechanisms though which TRPM8 regulates osteoblast and adipocyte lineage, generate novel data on neural- mesenchymal cell interactions, and set forth a foundation for future work examining sensory neuron control of bone remodeling.

Public Health Relevance

TRPM8 is one of many targets to treat obesity by increasing thermogenesis in white adipose tissue. We have discovered that TRPM8 is also critical for bone homeostasis using in vivo and in vitro models. This proposal will determine the neural and skeletal mechanisms through which TRPM8 alters bone and marrow fat metabolism.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Special Grants Review Committee (AMS)
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Chen, Faye H
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Maine Medical Center
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Carvalho, Adriana Lelis; DeMambro, Victoria E; Guntur, Anyonya R et al. (2018) High fat diet attenuates hyperglycemia, body composition changes, and bone loss in male streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetic mice. J Cell Physiol 233:1585-1600
Motyl, Katherine J; Guntur, Anyonya R; Carvalho, Adriana Lelis et al. (2017) Energy Metabolism of Bone. Toxicol Pathol 45:887-893
Motyl, Katherine J; Beauchemin, Megan; Barlow, Deborah et al. (2017) A novel role for dopamine signaling in the pathogenesis of bone loss from the atypical antipsychotic drug risperidone in female mice. Bone 103:168-176