Runx1 regulates osteogenic differentiation of BMSCs by inhibiting adipogenesis through Wnt/β-catenin pathway

Yuan Luo, Yingdi Zhang, Guojun Miao, Yiwen Zhang, Yuehua Liu, Yuanliang Huang
Archives of Oral Biology 2018 October 29, 97: 176-184

OBJECTIVE: Bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) can commit to both adipocyte and osteoblast lineages. However, the mechanism underlying how transcription factors regulate this process remains elusive. Our aims were to determine the role of runt-related transcription factor 1 (Runx1) in BMSCs lineage determination and the underlying mechanisms.

STUDY DESIGN: BMSCs from mouse femur bone marrow were harvested and cultured in osteogenic medium. Runx1 was knocked down in BMSCs using lentivirus. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), Von Kossa and Oil Red O staining were performed on the Runx1-transduced BMSCs and control cells to see the differences of osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation in these groups. Real-time quantitative PCR and Western blot were performed to analyse the expression levels of osteogenic and adipogenic factors regulated by Runx1 at gene and protein levels.

RESULTS: In BMSCs with Runx1 knockdown, the expression levels of osteogenic-related genes decreased significantly while the adipogenic genes C/EBPα, PPARγ and Fabp4 increased by 12-fold, 10-fold, and 30-fold, respectively, compared with the control cells. ALP activity and Von kossa staining were greatly decreased in Runx1-transfected cells while the Oil Red O staining was comparable to that in the control groups. Canonical Wnt signaling was investigated in the Runx1-deficient BMSCs, and a 50% decrease in the expression of active β-catenin in these cells was found. Lef1 and Tcf1, which are regulated by β-catenin were also decreased in Runx1-deficient cells compared with the levels in controls. Moreover, although there was no difference in the expression of Wnt3a among the three groups of cells, the expression of Wnt10b decreased by 80% in Runx1-deficient BMSCs compared with the levels in the other two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results show Runx1 promotes the capacity of osteogenesis in BMSCs while inhibits their adipogenesis through canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway, which provides new insights into osteoblast development.

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