Bone marrow is the principal site for osteoclastogenesis and osteoblastogenesis; and an increase in the former has been linked with bone loss caused by acute loss of gonadal steroids. We have now used an established murine model of accelerated senescence and osteopenia (SAMP6) to test the hypothesis that reduced osteoblastogenesis is linked with decreased bone mass. At 1 mo of age, the number of osteoblast progenitors in SAMP6 marrow was indistinguishable from controls; however a threefold decrease was found at 3-4 mo of age. Impaired osteoblast formation was temporally associated with decreased bone formation and decreased bone mineral density, as determined by histomorphometric analysis of tetracycline-labeled cancellous bone and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, respectively. Osteoclastogenesis determined in ex vivo bone marrow cultures was also decreased in these mice, as was the number of osteoclasts in histologic sections. Moreover, unlike controls, senescence-accelerated mice failed to increase osteoclast development after gonadectomy. The osteoclastogenesis defeat was secondary to impaired osteoblast formation as evidenced by the fact that osteoclastogenesis could be restored by addition of osteoblastic cells from normal mice. These findings provide the first demonstration of a link between low bone mineral density and decreased osteoblastogenesis in the bone marrow and validate the senescence-accelerated mouse as a model of involutional osteopenia.


R L Jilka, R S Weinstein, K Takahashi, A M Parfitt, S C Manolagas


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