, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 261-269
Date: 05 Jun 2007

Effects of intermittent parathyroid hormone (PTH) administration on SOST mRNA and protein in rat bone

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Sclerostin, the secreted protein product of the SOST gene, which is mainly expressed by osteocytes, has recently been proposed as a negative regulator of bone osteoblastogenesis. Chronic elevation of PTH reduces SOST expression by osteocytes, while controversial results have been obtained by intermittent PTH administration. We have investigated the effects of intermittently administered PTH on SOST expression and sclerostin localization, comparing them with those of controls, as they appeared in three different bone segments of rat tibia: secondary trabecular metaphyseal and epiphyseal bone, and cortical diaphyseal bone. The histomorphometric results demonstrate that PTH enhances bone turnover through anabolic effects, as shown by the association of increased bone resorption variables with a significant rise in BV/TV, Tb.Th and Tb.N and a fall in Tb.Sp. PTH induces a SOST mRNA and protein fall in secondary metaphyseal trabeculae, diaphyseal bone and in epiphyseal trabeculae. Numbers of sclerostin immunopositive osteocytes/mm2 show no change, compared with controls; there are fewer sclerostin-positive osteocytes in secondary metaphyseal trabeculae than in the other two bone areas, both in the control and PTH groups. The low numbers of sclerostin-positive osteocytes in the metaphyseal trabecular bone seem to be directly related to the fact that this area displays a high remodeling rate. The anabolic effects of PTH are in line with the fall of SOST mRNA and protein in all the three bone segments examined; the rise of bone turnover supports a negative role of SOST in bone formation.