Osteoblastic Wnts differentially regulate bone remodeling and the maintenance of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells

Yong Wan, Cheng Lu, Jingjing Cao, Rujiang Zhou, Yiyun Yao, Jian Yu, Lingling Zhang, Haixia Zhao, Hanjun Li, Jianzhi Zhao, Xuming Zhu, Lin He, Yongzhong Liu, Zhengju Yao, Xiao Yang, Xizhi Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Wnt signaling has important roles in embryonic bone development and postnatal bone remodeling, but inconsistent impact on bone property is observed in different genetic alterations of Lrp5 and β-catenin. More importantly, it is still controversial whether Lrp5 regulate bone formation locally or globally through gut-derived serotonin. Here we explored the function of Wnt proteins in osteoblastic niche through inactivation of the Wntless (Wls) gene, which abrogates the secretion of Wnts. The depletion of Wls in osteoblast progenitor cells resulted in severe osteopenia with more profound defects in osteoblastogenesis, osteoclastogenesis and maintenance of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) compared to that observed in Lrp5 and β-catenin mutants. These findings support the point of view that Wnt/Lrp5 signaling locally regulates bone mass accrual through multiple effects of osteoblastic Wnts on osteoblastic bone formation and osteoclastic bone resorption. Moreover, osteoblastic Wnts confer a niche role for maintenance of BMSCs, providing novel cues for the definition of BMSCs niche in bone marrow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-267
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Major Fundamental Research 973 program of China under grants [ 2007CB947301 and 2012CB966903 ] and by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China [ 31171396 , 31271553 , 81121001 and 31100624 ].


  • BMSCs
  • Bone remodeling
  • Osteoblast
  • Osteoclast
  • Wnt


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