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Bone., 2005; 36(5): 854-65, PMID: 15826870

Differential turnover of cortical and trabecular bone in transgenic mice overexpressing cathepsin K

Jahr: 2005

Morko J, Kiviranta R, Hurme S, Rantakokko J, Vuorio E
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Turku, FI-20520 Turku, Finland.


Cathepsin K is a major osteoclastic protease. We have recently shown that overexpression of mouse cathepsin K gene in transgenic UTU17 mouse model results in high turnover osteopenia of metaphyseal trabecular bone at the age of 7 months. The present report extends these studies to a systematic analysis of cortical bone in growing and adult mice overexpressing cathepsin K. Mice homozygous for the transgene locus (UTU17+/+) and their control littermates were studied at the age of 1, 3, 7, and 12 months. Bone properties were analyzed using peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT), histomorphometry, histochemistry, radiography, and biomechanical testing. In addition, the levels of biochemical markers of bone turnover were measured in the sera. Unexpectedly, cortical thickness and cortical bone mineral density were increased in the diaphyseal region of growing and adult UTU17+/+ mice. This was associated with an increased number of vascular canals leading to increased cortical porosity in UTU17+/+ mice without changes in the ultimate bending force or stiffness of the bone. In UTU17+/+ mice, osteopenia of metaphyseal trabecular bone was observed already at the age of 1 month. In sera of 1-month-old UTU17+/+ mice, the activity of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b was decreased and the levels of osteocalcin increased. Our results support the role of cathepsin K as a major proteinase in osteoclastic bone resorption. Excessive production of cathepsin K induced osteopenia of metaphyseal trabecular bone and increased the porosity of diaphyseal cortical bone. The increased cortical thickness and bone mineral density observed in diaphyses of UTU17+/+ mice demonstrate the different nature and reactivity of trabecular and cortical bone in mice. These results suggest that the biomechanical properties of cortical bone are preserved through adaptation as outlined in Wolff"s law.

GID: 884; Letzte Änderung: 23.01.2008