Gene expression during skeletal development in three osteopetrotic rat mutations. Evidence for osteoblast abnormalities

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology; Department of Anatomy

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Autoradiography; Body Weight; Bone and Bones; Extracellular Matrix; *Gene Expression Regulation; Mutation; Osteoblasts; Osteopetrosis; RNA, Messenger; Rats


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Osteopetrosis is a group of metabolic bone diseases characterized by reductions in osteoclast development and/or function. These aspects of osteoclast biology are known to be influenced by osteoblasts and their products. To ascertain whether osteoblast dysfunction contributes to aberrations in the structural and functional properties of osteoclasts in osteopetrosis, we systematically examined gene expression as reflected by mRNA levels for a series of cell growth- and tissue-related genes associated with the osteoblast phenotype during skeletal development in normal and mutant rats of three different osteopetrotic stocks. We show that the methods used permit the reproducible isolation of undegraded total cellular RNA from bone and that mRNA levels can be reliably quantitated in these preparations. Each osteopetrotic mutation exhibits a distinct aberrant pattern of osteoblast gene expression that may be correlated with and explain some abnormalities in extracellular matrix composition, mineralization, osteoclast development, and effects of elevated serum levels of 1 alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, depending upon the mutation. Normal rats show minor variations in gene expression that reflect the genetic background (stock). This, the first comprehensive molecular analysis of osteoblast gene expression in osteopetrosis, suggests that some osteopetroses, particularly in the toothless rat, are associated with and potentially related to mechanisms associated with aberrations in osteoblast function. More generally, the present studies demonstrate alterations in gene expression as reflected by mRNA levels that are associated with functional properties of the osteoblast, particularly those contributing to the recruitment and/or differentiation of osteoclasts, thereby influencing skeletal modeling.


J Biol Chem. 1991 May 25;266(15):9847-56.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of biological chemistry

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