Expression analysis of nha-oc/NHA2: A novel gene selectively expressed in osteoclasts

L. Pham, P. Purcell, L. Morse, P. Stashenko, R. A. Battaglino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Bone resorption by osteoclasts is required for normal bone remodeling and reshaping of growing bones. Excessive resorption is an important pathologic feature of many diseases, including osteoporosis, arthritis, and periodontitis [Abu-Amer, Y. (2005). Advances in osteoclast differentiation and function. Curr. Drug Targets. Immune. Endocr. Metabol. Disord. 5, 347-355]. On the other hand, deficient resorption leads to osteopetrosis which is characterized by increased bone mass and may lead to bone deformities or in severe cases to death [Blair, H.C., Athanasou, N.A. 2004. Recent advances in osteoclast biology and pathological bone ddresorption. Histol. Histopathol. 19, 189-199; Del Fattore, A., Peruzzi, B., Rucci, N., Recchia, I., Cappariello, A., Longo, M., Fortunati, D., Ballanti, P., Iacobini, M., Luciani, M., Devito, R., Pinto, R., Caniglia, M., Lanino, E., Messina, C., Cesaro, S., Letizia, C., Bianchini, G., Fryssira, H., Grabowski, P., Shaw, N., Bishop, N., Hughes, D., Kapur, R.P., Datta, H.K., Taranta, A., Fornari, R., Migliaccio, S., and Teti, A. 2006. Clinical, genetic, and cellular analysis of 49 osteopetrotic patients: implications for diagnosis and treatment. J. Med. Genet. 43, 315--325]. Recently, we identified a gene, nha-oc/NHA2, which is strongly up regulated during RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation in vitro and in vivo. nha-oc/NHA2 encodes a novel cation/proton exchanger that is strongly expressed in osteoclasts. The purpose of this work was to further validate the restricted expression of nha-oc/NHA2 in osteoclasts by in situ hybridization. Our results showed that nha-oc is expressed predominantly in bone. In the head, expression was found in the supraoccipitale bone, calvarium, mandible, and maxilla. Furthermore, nha-oc positive cells co-express the osteoclast markers TRAP and cathepsin k, confirming nha-oc/NHA2 osteoclast localization. However, only a subset of cathepsin k-expressing cells is positive for nha-oc/NHA2, suggesting that nha-oc is expressed by terminally differentiated osteoclasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-851
Number of pages6
JournalGene Expression Patterns
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This investigation was supported by Research Grant DE-007378-18 from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


  • Bone resorption
  • Cation proton exchanger
  • Osteoclast specific


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