Aging is coupled with a decline of immune function, loss of bone mass and accumulation of marrow fat. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR?) is a key factor regulating fat and bone cell formation. Studies show that PPAR? insufficiency can increase bone mass, suggesting that targeting PPAR? could be a novel strategy for new anti-osteoporosis therapies. However, it is not clear how PPAR? insufficiency increases bone because deletion of PPAR? gene in fat tissue also increases bone mass, and that global reduction of fat causes severe diabetes and insulin resistance. We hypothesize that bone-specific PPAR? inactivation, which blocks only bone marrow fat formation, will eliminate marrow fat-generated inflammatory responses, including inflammatory cytokines and inflammatory cells, increases the availability and activity of osteoblasts, and improves immune function, thereby reducing the pace of bone loss in aging. This hypothesis is formulated on the basis that marrow fat increases with aging and fat tissue produces large quantities of inflammatory cytokines. In addition to inhibit bone cell development, these cytokines are predicted to degrading the bone marrow microenvironment (causing chronic inflammation) and inhibiting the hematopoiesis resulting in a shift of progenitor cell from a predominant lymphoid to a myeloid proportion (skewing of hematopoiesis) because bone marrow is the place where immune system is originated. We will test our hypothesis using two PPAR? knockout mouse models, one blocks only bone marrow fat cell formation and the other reduces whole body fat mass.
Two specific aims are proposed.
Aims 1 will test the specific hypothesis that PPAR? controls adult bone homeostasis but not skeletal development or growth, and Aim 2 will test the specific hypothesis that inactivation of PPAR? eliminates fat-generated inflammatory responses, including cytokines and inflammatory cells, and boosts the immune function, which declines with aging and may contribute to age-induced bone loss. Results of this research will shed new light on our current understanding of the mechanisms by which PPAR? regulates bone metabolism and help develop new anti-osteoporosis therapies.

Public Health Relevance

With advancing age, bone marrow fat increases (fatty marrow) and bone mass and immune function decrease. Fat tissue produces large amounts of inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) and interleukin (IL)-1 and -6. These cytokines not only play a key role in the regulation of bone-forming osteoblast (inhibition) and bone-resorbing osteoclast (stimulation), but also play a central role in the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses. Many aging related diseases, including osteoporosis, are tightly associated with chronic inflammation and are stated accurately by a new word inflammaging (inflamm + aging). A transcription factor named PPAR? is a key controlling fat cell formation. Because both the bone cells and marrow fat cells derive from a common bone marrow stem cell, PPAR? also regulates bone formation. However, the underlying mechanism by which PPAR? controls bone is not clear. This study will investigate how PPAR? causes bone loss and decline of immune function through controlling the bone marrow fat. We will use sophisticated bone-specific PPAR? gene knockout mouse models and the state-of-the-art immunology and molecular biology technologies to achieve these goals. Results of this research will shed new light on our current understanding of aging-induced bone loss and help develop new anti-osteoporosis therapies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1)
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Williams, John
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Georgia Regents University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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