Wnt10b increases postnatal bone formation by enhancing osteoblast differentiation

Christina N. Bennett, Hongjiao Ouyang, Yanfei L. Ma, Qingqiang Zeng, Isabelle Gerin, Kyle M. Sousa, Timothy F Lane, Venkatesh Krishnan, Kurt D. Hankenson, Ormond A. MacDougald*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

223 Scopus citations


Overexpression of Wnt10b from the osteocalcin promoter in transgenic mice increases postnatal bone mass. Increases in osteoblast perimeter, mineralizing surface, and bone formation rate without detectable changes in pre-osteoblast proliferation, osteoblast apoptosis, or osteoclast number and activity suggest that, in this animal model, Wnt10b primarily increases bone mass by stimulating osteoblastogenesis. Introduction: Wnt signaling regulates many aspects of development including postnatal accrual of bone. Potential mechanisms for how Wnt signaling increases bone mass include regulation of osteoblast and/or osteoclast Dumber and activity. To help differentiate between these possibilities, we studied mice in which Wnt10b is expressed specifically in osteoblast lineage cells or in mice devoid of Wnt10b. Materials and Methods: Transgenic mice, in which mouse Wnt10b is expressed from the human osteocalcin promoter (Oc-Wnt10b), were generated in C57BL/6 mice. Transgene expression was evaluated by RNase protection assay. Quantitative assessment of bone variables was done by radiography, μCT, and static and dynamic histomorphometry. Mechanisms of bone homeostasis were evaluated with assays for BrdU, TUNEL, and TRACP5b activity, as well as serum levels of C-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX). The endogenous role of Wnt10b in bone was assessed by dynamic histomorphometry in Wnt10b-/- mice. Results: Oc-Wnt10b mice have increased mandibular bone and impaired eruption of incisors during postnatal development. Analyses of femoral distal metaphyses show significantly higher BMD, bone volume fraction, and trabecular number. Increased bone formation is caused by increases in number of osteoblasts per bone surface, rale of mineral apposition, and percent mineralizing surface. Although number of osteoclasts per bone surface is not altered. Oc-Wnt10b mice have increased total osteoclast activity because of higher bone mass. In Wnt10b-/- mice, changes in mineralizing variables and osteoblast perimeter in femoral distal metaphyses were not observed: however, bone formation rate is reduced because of decreased total bone volume and trabecular number. Conclusions: High bone mass in Oc-Wnt10b mice is primarily caused by increased osteolastogenesis, with a minor contribution from elevated mineralizing activity of osteoblasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1924-1932
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Mandible
  • Mesenchymal
  • Osteocalcin
  • Stromal cells
  • Wnt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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