Melatonin restores osteoporosis-impaired osteogenic potential of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells and alleviates bone loss through the HGF/ PTEN/ Wnt/β-catenin axis
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Background: Previous studies reported that melatonin exerts its effect on mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) survival and differentiation into osteogenic and adipogenic lineage. In the current study we aimed to explore the effect of melatonin on osteoporosis and relevant mechanisms.
Methods: Real-time qualitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and Western blot analysis were conducted to determine expression of HGF, PTEN, and osteoblast differentiation-related genes in ovariectomy (OVX)-induced osteoporosis mice and the isolated bone marrow MSCs (BMSCs). Pre-conditioning with melatonin (1 μmol/l, 10 μmol/l and 100 μmol/l) was carried out in OVX mice BMSCs. Bone microstructure was analyzed using micro-computed tomography and the contents of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase 5b (TRAP5b) were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in serum. BMSC proliferation was measured by cell-counting kit (CCK)-8 assay. Alizarin red S (ARS) staining and ALP activity assay were performed to assess BMSC mineralization and calcification. The activity of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway was evaluated by dual-luciferase reporter assay.
Results: Melatonin prevented bone loss in OVX mice. Melatonin increased ALP expression and reduced TRAP5b expression. HGF and β-catenin were downregulated, while PTEN was upregulated in the femur of OVX mice. Melatonin elevated HGF expression and then stimulated BMSC proliferation and osteogenic differentiation. Additionally, HGF diminished the expression of PTEN, resulting in activated Wnt/β-catenin pathway both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, melatonin was shown to ameliorate osteoporosis in OVX mice via the HGF/PTEN/Wnt/β-catenin axis.
Conclusion: Melatonin could potentially enhance osteogenic differentiation of BMSCs and retard bone loss through the HGF/PTEN/Wnt/β-catenin axis.
Keywords: HGF; PTEN; Wnt/β-catenin; bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells; melatonin; osteoporosis.