To use our website in an optimal way, please activate JavaScript in your Browser.

Bone., 2005; 37(1): 46-54, PMID: 15869929

Osteopenia and impaired fracture healing in aged EP4 receptor knockout mice

Year: 2005

Li M, Healy DR, Li Y, Simmons HA, Crawford DT, Ke HZ, Pan LC, Brown TA, Thompson DD
Osteoporosis Research, Department of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases, Pfizer Global Research and Development, MS8118W-208, Groton, CT 06340, USA.


The EP4 receptor, one of the subtypes of the prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) receptor, plays a critical role in the anabolic effects of PGE2 on bone. However, its role in the maintenance of bone mass in aged animals and its role in fracture healing is not well known. Our studies addressed these issues by characterizing the skeletal phenotype of aged, EP4 receptor knockout (KO) mice, and by comparing fracture healing in aged KO mice versus wild type (WT) mice. There was no significant difference in body weight and femoral length between KO and WT mice at 15 to 16 months of age. Lower bone mass was seen radiographically in both axial and long bones of KO mice relative to WT mice. Micro-CT images of the distal femurs showed thinner cortices, fewer trabeculae, and a deteriorated trabecular network in KO mice. Total bone content, trabecular content, and cortical content, as assessed by pQCT in the distal femur, were lower in KO mice than WT controls. Histomorphometric measurements showed that trabecular bone volume and bone formation rate were significantly decreased whereas osteoclast number on trabecular surface and eroded surface on endocortical surface were significantly increased in KO mice. These data indicated that deleting the EP4 receptor resulted in an imbalance in bone resorption over formation, leading to a negative bone balance. The lower bone formation rate in EP4 KO mice was primarily due to decreased mineralizing surface, suggesting that the defect in overall bone formation was mainly due to the defect in osteoblastogenesis. Fracture healing was examined in KO and WT mice subjected to a transverse femoral fracture. Callus formation was significantly delayed as evidenced both radiographically and histologically in the fractured femurs of KO mice compared with those of WT mice. KO mice had significant decreases in total callus area, cartilaginous callus area, and bony callus area 2 weeks after fracture. By 4 weeks, complete bony bridging was seen in WT mice but not in KO mice. These data demonstrate that the absence of the EP4 receptor decreases bone mass and impairs fracture healing in aged male mice. Our findings indicate that the EP4 receptor is a positive regulator in the maintenance of bone mass and fracture healing.

GID: 890; Last update: 23.01.2008