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1.  Reducing cardiovascular mortality in chronic kidney disease: something borrowed, something new 
Clinical vignette: A 48-year-old man with chronic kidney disease stage five due to type II diabetes mellitus and hypertension was referred for hemodialysis initiation. His physical exam showed a blood pressure of 150/80, normal fundi, a positive fourth heart sound (S4), and trace pedal edema. Moderate aortic calcification was present on prior chest X-ray. The ECG showed left ventricle hypertrophy by voltage and slight prolongation of the QT interval. Medications included chlorthalidone, amlodipine, carvedilol, cholecalciferol, erythropoietin, and a phosphate binder. What additional therapy should be initiated to reduce vascular calcifications and cardiovascular mortality?
doi:10.1172/JCI67203
PMCID: PMC3561828  PMID: 23298840
2.  GPRC6A regulates prostate cancer progression 
The Prostate  2011;72(4):399-409.
BACKGROUND
GPRC6A is a nutrient sensing GPCR that is activated in vitro by a variety of ligands, including amino acids, calcium, zinc, osteocalcin (OC) and testosterone. The association between nutritional factors and risk of prostate cancer, the finding of increased expression of OC in prostate cancer cells and the association between GPRC6A and risk of prostate cancer in Japanese men implicates a role of GPRC6A in prostate cancer.
METHODS
We examined if GPRC6A is expressed in human prostate cancer cell lines and used siRNA-mediated knockdown GPRC6A expression in prostate cancer cells to explore the function of GPRC6A in vitro. To assess the role GPRC6A in prostate cancer progression in vivo we intercrossed Gprc6a−/− mice onto the TRAMP mouse prostate cancer model.
RESULTS
GPRC6A transcripts were markedly increased in prostate cancer cell lines 22Rv1, PC-3 and LNCaP, compared to the normal prostate RWPE-1 cell line. In addition, a panel of GPRC6A ligands, including calcium, OC, and arginine, exhibited in prostate cancer cell lines a dose-dependent stimulation of ERK activity, cell proliferation, chemotaxis, and prostate specific antigen and Runx 2 gene expression. These responses were inhibited by siRNA-mediated knockdown of GPRC6A. Finally, transfer of Gprc6a deficiency onto a TRAMP mouse model of prostate cancer significantly retarded prostate cancer progression and improved survival of compound Gprc6a−/−/TRAMP mice.
CONCLUSIONS
GPRC6A is a novel molecular target for regulating prostate growth and cancer progression. Increments in GPRC6A may augment the ability of prostate cancer cells to proliferate in response to dietary and bone derived ligands.
doi:10.1002/pros.21442
PMCID: PMC3183291  PMID: 21681779
GPRC6A; GPCR; calcium; osteocalcin; siRNA; prostate cancer; cell proliferation; metastases
3.  ASARM Mineralization Hypothesis: A Bridge Too Far? 
doi:10.1002/jbmr.69
PMCID: PMC3153325  PMID: 20200985
4.  Calcimimetics or vitamin D analogs for suppressing parathyroid hormone in end-stage renal disease: time for a paradigm shift? 
SUMMARY
Considerable advances have been made in the understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) in chronic kidney disease (CKD). These include the discovery that the calcium-sensing receptor has an important role in the regulation of parathyroid gland function, the development of calcimimetics to target this receptor, the recognition that vitamin D receptor activation has important functions beyond the regulation of mineral metabolism, the identification of the phosphaturic factor fibroblast growth factor 23 and the contribution of this hormone to disordered phosphate and vitamin D metabolism in CKD. However, despite the availability of calcimimetics, phosphate binders, and vitamin D analogs, control of SHPT remains suboptimal in many patients with advanced kidney disease. In this Review, we explore several unresolved issues regarding the pathogenesis and treatment of SHPT. Specifically, we examine the significance of elevated circulating fibroblast growth factor 23 levels in CKD, question the proposition that calcitriol deficiency is truly a pathological state, explore the relative importance of the vitamin D receptor and the calcium-sensing receptor in parathyroid gland function and evaluate the evidence to support the treatment of SHPT with calcimimetics and vitamin D analogs. Finally, we propose a novel treatment framework in which calcimimetics are the primary therapy for suppressing parathyroid hormone production in patients with end-stage renal disease.
doi:10.1038/ncpneph0977
PMCID: PMC3924719  PMID: 18957950
calcimimetics; calcium-sensing receptor; chronic kidney disease; secondary hyperparathyroidism; vitamin D
5.  Parathyroid-specific interaction of the calcium-sensing receptor and Gaq 
Kidney international  2008;74(12):1548-1556.
The calcium-sensing receptor regulates various parathyroid gland functions, including hormone secretion, gene transcription, and chief cell hyperplasia through Gαq- and Gαi-dependent signaling pathways. To determine the specific function of Gαq in these processes, we generated transgenic mice using the human parathyroid hormone promoter to drive overexpression of a dominant negative Gαqloop minigene to selectively disrupt Gαq function in the parathyroid gland. The Gαqloop mRNA was highly expressed in the parathyroid gland but not in other tissues of these transgenic mice. Gross appearance, body weight, bone mineral density, and survival of the transgenic mice were indistinguishable from those of their wild-type littermates. Adult transgenic mice, however, exhibited an increase in parathyroid hormone mRNA and in its basal serum level as well as in gland size. The response of the parathyroid gland to hypocalcemia was found to be reduced in sensitivity in the transgenic mice when compared to their wild-type controls. Abnormalities of the parathyroid gland function in these transgenic mice were similar to those of heterozygous Gαq+/− and calcium sensing receptor+/− mice. These studies demonstrate the feasibility of selectively targeting the parathyroid gland to investigate signaling mechanisms downstream of the calcium receptor.
doi:10.1038/ki.2008.411
PMCID: PMC2760404  PMID: 18813283
calcium-sensing receptor; G-protein; parathyroid gland
6.  Endocrine functions of bone in mineral metabolism regulation 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2008;118(12):3820-3828.
Given the dramatic increase in skeletal size during growth, the need to preserve skeletal mass during adulthood, and the large capacity of bone to store calcium and phosphate, juxtaposed with the essential role of phosphate in energy metabolism and the adverse effects of hyperphosphatemia, it is not surprising that a complex systems biology has evolved that permits cross-talk between bone and other organs to adjust phosphate balance and bone mineralization in response to changing physiological requirements. This review examines the newly discovered signaling pathways involved in the endocrine functions of bone, such as those mediated by the phosphaturic and 1,25(OH)2D-regulating hormone FGF23, and the broader systemic effects associated with abnormalities of calcium and phosphate homeostasis.
doi:10.1172/JCI36479
PMCID: PMC2586800  PMID: 19033649
7.  Role of Matrix Extracellular Phosphoglycoprotein in the Pathogenesis of X-Linked Hypophosphatemia 
X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH), a disorder characterized by hypophosphatemia, impaired skeletal mineralization, and aberrant regulation of 1, 25(OH)2D3, is caused by inactivating mutations of Phex, which results in the accumulation of putative phosphaturic factors, called phosphatonins. Matrix extracellular phosphoglycoprotein (Mepe) is a proposed candidate for phosphatonin. The authors found that Hyp mice had increased expression of the MEPE and another phosphaturic factor, Fgf23. To establish MEPE’s role in the pathogenesis of the XLH, Mepe-deficient mice were back-crossed onto the Hyp mouse homologue of XLH and phenotypes of wild-type, Mepe−/−, Hyp, and Mepe−/−/Hyp mice were examined. Transfer of Mepe deficiency onto the Phex-deficient Hyp mouse background failed to correct hypophosphatemia and aberrant serum 1,25(OH)2D3 levels. Increased Fgf23 levels in Hyp mice were not affected by superimposed Mepe deficiency. In addition, Mepe-deficient Hyp mice retained bone mineralization defects in vivo, characterized by decreased bone mineral density, reduced mineralized trabecular bone volume, lower flexural strength, and histologic evidence of osteomalacia; however, cultures of Hyp-derived bone marrow stromal cells in the absence of Mepe showed improved mineralization and normalization of osteoblast gene expression profiles observed in cells derived from Mepe-null mice. These results demonstrate that MEPE elevation in Hyp mice does not contribute to the hypophosphatemia associated with inactivating Phex mutations and is therefore not phosphatonin.
doi:10.1681/ASN.2004121060
PMCID: PMC1484502  PMID: 15843468
8.  Osteoblast Calcium-Sensing Receptor Has Characteristics of ANF/7TM Receptors 
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2005;95(6):1081-1092.
There is evidence for a functionally important extracelluar calcium-sensing receptor in osteoblasts, but there is disagreement regarding its identity. Candidates are CASR and a putative novel calcium-sensing receptor, called Ob.CASR. To further characterize Ob.CASR and to distinguish it from CASR, we examined the extracellular cation-sensing response in MC3T3-E1 osteoblasts and in osteoblasts derived from CASR null mice. We found that extracellular cations activate ERK and serum response element (SRE)-luciferase reporter activity in osteoblasts lacking CASR. Amino acids, but not the calcimimetic NPS-R568, an allosteric modulator of CASR, also stimulate Ob.CASR-dependent SRE-luciferase activation in MC3T3-E1 osteoblasts. In addition, we found that the dominant negative Gαq(305–359) construct inhibited cation-stimulated ERK activation, consistent with Ob.CASR coupling to Gαq-dependent pathways. Ob.CASR is also a target for classical GPCR desensitization mechanisms, since β-arrestins, which bind to and uncouple GRK phosphorylated GPCRs, attenuated cation-stimulated SRE-luciferase activity in CASR deficient osteoblasts. Finally, we found that Ob.CASR and CASR couple to SRE through distinct signaling pathways. Ob.CASR does not activate RhoA and C3 toxin fails to block Ob.CASR-induced SRE-luciferase activity. Mutational analysis of the serum response factor (SRF) and ternary complex factor (TCF) elements in SRE demonstrates that Ob.CASR predominantly activates TCF-dependent mechanisms, whereas CASR activates SRE-luciferase mainly through a RhoA and SRF-dependent mechanism. The ability of Ob.CASR to sense cations and amino acids and function like a G-protein coupled receptor suggests that it may belong to the family of receptors characterized by an evolutionarily conserved amino acid sensing motif (ANF) linked to an intramembranous 7 transmembrane loop region (7TM).
doi:10.1002/jcb.20500
PMCID: PMC1360183  PMID: 15962313
G-protein coupled receptors; calcium-sensing; osteoblasts; β-arrestin; Gαq; ERK; SRE; CASR, calcium-sensing receptor; Ob.CASR, osteoblastic calcium-sensing receptor; GPCR, G-protein coupled receptor; ERK, extracellular signal-regulated kinase; SRE, serum response element; SRF, serum response factor; TCF, ternary complex factor
9.  Evidence for a bone-kidney axis regulating phosphate homeostasis 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2003;112(5):642-646.
A novel circulation phosphaturic hormone is postulated to regulate systemic phosphate homeostasis. Two new studies reveal that the phosphaturic factor FGF-23 is increased in hypophosphatemic subjects with McCune-Albright syndrome and that secreted frizzled-related protein-4 (sFRP-4), a factor produced by tumors derived from subjects with tumor-induced osteomalacia, also has phosphaturic activity. It remains to be established whether FGF-23 and sFRP-4 represent two distinct phosphatonins or are somehow integrated in a novel phosphate-regulating bone-kidney axis.
doi:10.1172/JCI200319687
PMCID: PMC182218  PMID: 12952909
10.  Rescue of the skeletal phenotype in CasR-deficient mice by transfer onto the Gcm2 null background 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2003;111(7):1029-1037.
To understand the role of the calcium-sensing receptor (CasR) in the skeleton, we used a genetic approach to ablate parathyroid glands and remove the confounding effects of elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) in CasR-deficient mice. CasR deficiency was transferred onto the glial cells missing 2–deficient (Gcm2-deficient) background by intercrossing CasR- and Gcm2-deficient mice. Superimposed Gcm2 deficiency rescued the perinatal lethality in CasR-deficient mice in association with ablation of the parathyroid glands and correction of the severe hyperparathyroidism. In addition, the double homozygous CasR- and Gcm2-deficient mice demonstrated healing of the abnormal mineralization of cartilage and bone associated with CasR deficiency, indicating that rickets and osteomalacia in CasR-deficient mice are not due to an independent function of CasR in bone and cartilage but to the effect of severe hyperparathyroidism in the neonate. Analysis of the skeleton of 6-week-old homozygous CasR- and Gcm2-deficient mice also failed to identify any essential, nonredundant role for CasR in regulating chondrogenesis or osteogenesis, but further studies are needed to establish the function of CasR in the skeleton. In contrast, concomitant Gcm2 and CasR deficiency failed to rescue the hypocalciuria in CasR-deficient mice, consistent with direct regulation of urinary calcium excretion by CasR in the kidney. Double Gcm2- and CasR-deficient mice provide an important model for evaluating the extraparathyroid functions of CasR.
doi:10.1172/JCI200317054
PMCID: PMC152586  PMID: 12671052
11.  Antiandrogen Gold Nanoparticles Dual-Target and Overcome Treatment Resistance in Hormone-Insensitive Prostate Cancer Cells 
Bioconjugate chemistry  2012;23(8):1507-1512.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men in developed countries.1 One in six males in the US2 and one in nine males in the UK3 will develop the disease at some point during their lifetime. Despite advances in prostate cancer screening, more than a quarter million men die from the disease every year1 due primarily to treatment-resistance and metastasis. Colloidal nanotechnologies can provide tremendous enhancements to existing targeting/treatment strategies for prostate cancer to which malignant cells are less sensitive. Here, we show that antiandrogen gold nanoparticles – multivalent analogues of antiandrogens currently used in clinical therapy for prostate cancer – selectively engage two distinct receptors, androgen receptor (AR), a target for the treatment of prostate cancer, as well as a novel G-protein coupled receptor, GPRC6A, that is also upregulated in prostate cancer. These nanoparticles selectively accumulated in hormone-insensitive and chemotherapy-resistant prostate cancer cells, bound androgen receptor with multivalent affinity, and exhibited greatly enhanced drug potency versus monovalent antiandrogens currently in clinical use. Further, antiandrogen gold nanoparticles selectively stimulated GPRC6A with multivalent affinity, demonstrating that the delivery of nanoscale antiandrogens can also be facilitated by the transmembrane receptor in order to realize increasingly selective, increasingly potent therapy for treatment-resistant prostate cancers.
doi:10.1021/bc300158k
PMCID: PMC3434689  PMID: 22768914
12.  Role of FGF23 in Vitamin D and Phosphate Metabolism: Implications in Chronic Kidney Disease 
Experimental Cell Research  2012;318(9):1040-1048.
FGF23 is a bone-derived hormone that regulates systemic phosphate homeostasis, vitamin D metabolism and α-klotho expression through a novel bone-kidney axis. FGF23 inhibits renal tubular reabsorption of phosphate through mechanisms independent of PTH as well as reduces circulating 1, 25(OH)2D through its dual effects to suppress Cyp27b1 production and to stimulate Cyp24 catabolism of 1,25(OH)2D. 1,25(OH)2D and other factors regulating bone remodeling/mineralization are the major physiological regulators of FGF23 expression. FGF23 also suppresses the gene transcription of α-klotho by the kidney, which exists as a membrane and soluble protein. Membrane Klotho acts as a coreceptor for and dictates organ specificity of FGF23, whereas soluble Klotho act as an endocrine factor that regulates activity of cell surface glycoproteins and receptors in multiple tissues. Elevated FGF23 levels are responsible for several hereditary and acquired hypophosphatemic rickets disorders. FGF23 and Klotho deficiency have similar phenotypes characterized by hyperphosphatemia, elevated 1,25(OH)2D and tumoral calcinosis. FGF23 levels progressively increase during chronic kidney disease (CKD). FGF23 has been proposed to be the initial adaptive response leading to reductions in 1,25(OH)2D and secondary hyperparathyroidism (HPT) in CKD. The overall biological effect of this initial step may be to orchestrate a coordinated adaptation to protect the organism from the adverse effects of excess phosphate retention. The second step involves the effects of PTH on bone remodeling that further stimulates FGF23 production through both direct and indirect mechanisms related to alterations in extracellular matrix factors. PTH further amplifies FGF23 expression in later stages of CKD to compensate for the increased phosphate efflux from bone caused by excessive bone turnover. While many aspects of the regulation and functions of FGF23 remain to be established, the idea that FGF23 hormone is the initial adaptive hormonal response in CKD that suppresses 1,25(OH)2D, reduces gastrointestinal calcium and phosphate absorption and leads to a secondary HPT represents a paradigm shift in the conceptualization of the pathogenesis of secondary hyperparathyroidism. In addition, the prevalent thought that CKD is a functional “vitamin D deficient state” requiring therapy with 1,25(OH)2D analogues is challenged by effects of FGF23 to potentially lower both 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)D by induction of Cyp24-mediated degradation. Finally, increments in FGF23 are associated with increased cardiovascular mortality in CKD. Whether these effects represent direct effects of FGF23 or represent a marker of other abnormalities in CKD remain to be determined.
doi:10.1016/j.yexcr.2012.02.027
PMCID: PMC3336874  PMID: 22421513
1,25(OH)2D; bone; kidney; calcium; osteoblasts; osteocytes; cyp27b1; cyp24; klotho
13.  Assessment of 24,25(OH)2D levels does not support FGF23-mediated catabolism of vitamin D metabolites 
Kidney international  2012;82(10):1061-1070.
Progressive elevations of fibroblastic growth factor 23 [FGF23] in chronic kidney disease may reduce serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)] and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D] levels, via stimulation of 24-hydroxylase (Cyp24A1) mediated catabolism of these vitamin D metabolites. To test this possibility, we measured serum concentrations of 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [24,25(OH)2D], a product of Cyp24A1 hydroxylation of 25(OH)D, in the Col4α3 knockout mouse, a model of Alport syndrome-derived chronic kidney disease, and in patients with chronic kidney disease of variable severity. There was an inverse correlation between serum FGF23 and both 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D in the mouse model but no significant relationship was observed in the cross-sectional patient cohort. The FGF23-dependent increase in Cyp24a1 mRNA expression in the mouse kidneys was consistent with the possibility that FGF23 induces vitamin D catabolism. There was, however, a reduction in serum 24,25(OH)2D levels, rather than the expected elevation, in both the mice and patients with chronic kidney disease. Low 25(OH)D and elevated FGF23 and parathyroid hormone levels were correlated with the reduced serum 24,25(OH)2D concentrations of these patients. Thus, we failed to find support for FGF23-mediated catabolism of vitamin D metabolites in chronic kidney disease assessed by 24,25(OH)2D levels.
doi:10.1038/ki.2012.222
PMCID: PMC3461248  PMID: 22739976
14.  Longitudinal Evaluation of FGF23 Changes and Mineral Metabolism Abnormalities in a Mouse Model of Chronic Kidney Disease 
Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is a phosphaturic and vitamin D-regulatory hormone of putative bone origin that is elevated in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The mechanisms responsible for elevations of FGF23 and its role in the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease-mineral bone disorder (CKD-MBD) remain uncertain. We investigated the association between FGF23 serum levels and kidney disease progression, as well as the phenotypic features of CKD-MBD in a Col4a3 null mouse model of human autosomal-recessive Alport syndrome. These mice exhibited progressive renal failure, declining 1,25(OH)2D levels, increments in PTH and FGF23, late onset hypocalcemia and hyperphosphatemia, high-turnover bone disease, and increased mortality. Serum levels of FGF23 increased in the earliest stages of renal damage, prior to elevations in BUN and creatinine. FGF23 gene transcription in bone, however, did not increase until late-stage kidney disease, when serum FGF23 levels were exponentially elevated. Further evaluation of bone revealed trabecular osteocytes to be the primary cell source for FGF23 production in late-stage disease. Changes in FGF23 mirrored the rise in serum PTH and the decline in circulating 1,25(OH) 2D. The rise in PTH and FGF23 in Col4a3 null mice coincided with an increase in the urinary fractional excretion of phosphorus and a progressive decline in sodium-phosphate co-transporter gene expression in the kidney. Our findings suggest elevations of FGF23 in CKD to be an early marker of renal injury that increases prior to BUN and serum creatinine. An increased production of FGF23 by bone may not be responsible for early increments in FGF23 in CKD, but does appear to contribute to FGF23 levels in late-stage disease. Elevations in FGF23 and PTH coincide with an increase in urinary phosphate excretion that likely prevents the early onset of hyperphosphatemia in the face of increased bone turnover and a progressive decline in functional renal mass.
doi:10.1002/jbmr.516
PMCID: PMC3439562  PMID: 22031097
FGF23; Vitamin D; phosphorus; chronic kidney disease; secondary hyperparathyroidism
15.  Phosphorylated acidic serine–aspartate-rich MEPE-associated motif peptide from matrix extracellular phosphoglycoprotein inhibits phosphate regulating gene with homologies to endopeptidases on the X-chromosome enzyme activity 
The Journal of Endocrinology  2007;192(1):261-267.
Inactivating PHEX (phosphate regulating gene with homologies to endopeptidases on the X chromosome) mutations cause X-linked hypophosphatemia in humans and mice (Hyp) through overproduction of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) a phosphaturic factor, by osteocytes. Matrix extracellular phosphoglycoprotein (MEPE) is also elevated in Hyp and other hypophosphatemic disorders. In addition, the administration of an ASARM (acidic serine–aspartate rich MEPE-associated motif) peptide derived from MEPE causes phosphaturia and inhibits bone mineralization in mice, suggesting that MEPE also plays a role in phosphate homeostasis. Since recent studies found that MEPE binds specifically to PHEX in vitro, we tested the effect of recombinant-MEPE and its ASARM peptide on PHEX enzyme activity in vitro and FGF23 expression in bone marrow stromal cell cultures ex vivo. We found that both recombinant MEPE and synthetic phosphorylated ASARM peptide (ASARM-PO4) inhibit PHEX enzyme activities in an in vitro fluorescent-quenched PHEX enzyme activity assay. The ASARM-PO4 peptide inhibits PHEX enzyme activity in a dose-dependent manner with a Ki of 128 nM and Vmax–i of 100%. Recombinant MEPE also inhibits PHEX activity (Ki=2 nM and Vmax–i=26%). Long-term bone marrow stromal cell cultures supplemented with 10 μM ASARM-PO4 peptide resulted in significant elevation of FGF23 transcripts and inhibition of mineralization. These findings suggest that MEPE inhibits mineralization and PHEX activity and leads to increased FGF23 production. The resulting coordination of mineralization and release of a phosphaturic factor by MEPE may serve a physiological role in regulating systemic phosphate homeostasis to meet the needs for bone mineralization.
doi:10.1677/joe.1.07059
PMCID: PMC3357085  PMID: 17210763
16.  REGULATION AND FUNCTION OF THE FGF23/KLOTHO ENDOCRINE PATHWAYS 
Physiological reviews  2012;92(1):131-155.
Calcium (Ca2+) and phosphate (PO43−) homeostasis are coordinated by systemic and local factors that regulate intestinal absorption, influx and efflux from bone, and kidney excretion and reabsorption of these ions through a complex hormonal network. Traditionally, the parathyroid hormone (PTH)/vitamin D axis provided the conceptual framework to understand mineral metabolism. PTH secreted by the parathyroid gland in response to hypocalcemia functions to maintain serum Ca2+ levels by increasing Ca2+ reabsorption and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D] production by the kidney, enhancing Ca2+ and PO43− intestinal absorption and increasing Ca2+ and PO43− efflux from bone, while maintaining neutral phosphate balance through phosphaturic effects. FGF23 is a recently discovered hormone, predominately produced by osteoblasts/osteocytes, whose major functions are to inhibit renal tubular phosphate reabsorption and suppress circulating 1,25(OH)2D levels by decreasing Cyp27b1-mediated formation and stimulating Cyp24-mediated catabolism of 1,25(OH)2D. FGF23 participates in a new bone/kidney axis that protects the organism from excess vitamin D and coordinates renal PO43− handling with bone mineralization/turnover. Abnormalities of FGF23 production underlie many inherited and acquired disorders of phosphate homeostasis. This review discusses the known and emerging functions of FGF23, its regulation in response to systemic and local signals, as well as the implications of FGF23 in different pathological and physiological contexts.
doi:10.1152/physrev.00002.2011
PMCID: PMC3306265  PMID: 22298654
17.  Impaired Osteoblast Function in GPRC6A Null Mice 
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research  2009;25(5):1092-1102.
GPRC6A is a widely expressed orphan G protein–coupled receptor that senses extracellular amino acids, osteocalcin, and divalent cations in vitro. GPRC6A null (GPRC6A−/−) mice exhibit multiple metabolic abnormalities including osteopenia. To investigate whether the osseous abnormalities are a direct function of GPRC6A in osteoblasts, we examined the function of primary osteoblasts and bone marrow stromal cell cultures (BMSCs) in GPRC6A−/− mice. We confirmed that GPRC6A−/− mice exhibited a decrease in bone mineral density (BMD) associated with reduced expression of osteocalcin, ALP, osteoprotegerin, and Runx2-II transcripts in bone. Osteoblasts and BMSCs derived from GPRC6A−/− mice exhibited an attenuated response to extracellular calcium-stimulated extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) activation, diminished alkaline phosphatase (ALP) expression, and impaired mineralization ex vivo. In addition, siRNA-mediated knockdown of GPRC6A in MC3T3 osteoblasts also resulted in a reduction in extracellular calcium-stimulated ERK activity. To explore the potential relevance of GPRC6A function in humans, we looked for an association between GPRC6A gene polymorphisms and BMD in a sample of 1000 unrelated American Caucasians. We found that GPRC6A gene polymorphisms were significantly associated with human spine BMD. These data indicate that GRPC6A directly participates in the regulation of osteoblast-mediated bone mineralization and may mediate the anabolic effects of extracellular amino acids, osteocalcin, and divalent cations in bone. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
doi:10.1359/jbmr.091037
PMCID: PMC3153369  PMID: 19874200
GPRC6A; G protein–coupled receptor (GPCR); osteoblast; bone mineral density; gene polymorphisms
18.  Kif3a Deficiency Reverses the Skeletal Abnormalities in Pkd1 Deficient Mice by Restoring the Balance Between Osteogenesis and Adipogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15240.
Pkd1 localizes to primary cilia in osteoblasts and osteocytes. Targeted deletion of Pkd1 in osteoblasts results in osteopenia and abnormalities in Runx2-mediated osteoblast development. Kif3a, an intraflagellar transport protein required for cilia function, is also expressed in osteoblasts. To assess the relationship between Pkd1 and primary cilia function on bone development, we crossed heterozygous Pkd1- and Kif3a-deficient mice to create compound Pkd1 and Kif3a-deficient mice. Pkd1 haploinsufficiency (Pkd1+/Δ) resulted in osteopenia, characterized by decreased bone mineral density, trabecular bone volume, and cortical thickness. In addition, deficiency of Pkd1 resulted in impaired osteoblastic differentiation and enhanced adipogenesis in both primary osteoblasts and/or bone marrow stromal cell cultures. These changes were associated with decreased Runx2 expression, increased PPARγ expression, and impaired hedgehog signaling as evidenced by decreased Gli2 expression in bone and osteoblast cultures. In contrast, heterozygous Kif3a+/Δ mice display no abnormalities in skeletal development or osteoblast function, but exhibited decreased adipogenic markers in bone and impaired adipogenesis in vitro in association with decreased PPARγ expression and upregulation of Gli2. Superimposed Kif3a deficiency onto Pkd1+/Δ mice paradoxically corrected the effects of Pkd1 deficiency on bone mass, osteoblastic differentiation, and adipogenesis. In addition, Runx2, PPARγ and Gli2 expression in bone and osteoblasts were normalized in compound double Pkd1+/Δ and Kif3a+/Δ heterozygous mice. The administration of sonic hedgehog, overexpression of Gli2, and the PC1 C-tail construct all increased Gli2 and Runx2-II expression, but decreased PPARγ2 gene expression in C3H10T1/2 cells. Our findings suggest a role for Pkd1 and Kif3a to counterbalance the regulation of osteogenesis and adipogenesis through differential regulation of Runx2 and PPARγ by Gli2.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015240
PMCID: PMC2996304  PMID: 21151991
20.  Treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in kidney disease: what we know and do not know about use of calcimimetics and vitamin D analogs 
There is a growing understanding of the pathophysiology of secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) and a recent emergence of new agents for SHPT treatment in patients with advanced kidney disease. At the same time, appreciation that mineral metabolic derangements promote vascular calcification and contribute to excess mortality, along with recognition of potentially important “non-classical” actions of vitamin D, have prompted the nephrology community to reexamine the use of various SHPT treatments, such as activated vitamin D sterols, phosphate binders, and calcimimetics. In this review, the evidence for treatment of SHPT with calcimimetics and vitamin D analogs is evaluated, with particular consideration given to recent clinical trials that have reported encouraging findings with cinacalcet use. Additionally, several controversies in the pathogenesis and treatment of SHPT are explored. The proposition that calcitriol deficiency is a true pathological state is challenged, the relative importance of the vitamin D receptor and the calcium sensing receptor in parathyroid gland function is summarized, and the potential relevance of non-classical actions of vitamin D for patients with advanced renal disease is examined. Taken collectively, the balance of evidence now supports a treatment paradigm in which calcimimetics are the most appropriate primary treatment for SHPT in the majority of end stage renal disease patients, but which nevertheless acknowledges an important role for modest doses of activated vitamin D sterols.
PMCID: PMC3108756  PMID: 21694914
secondary hyperparathyroidism; vitamin D; vitamin D receptor; calcium sensing receptor; calcimimetics; kidney disease
21.  Loss of DMP1 causes rickets and osteomalacia and identifies a role for osteocytes in mineral metabolism 
Nature genetics  2006;38(11):1310-1315.
The osteocyte, a terminally differentiated cell comprising 90%–95% of all bone cells1,2, may have multiple functions, including acting as a mechanosensor in bone (re)modeling3. Dentin matrix protein 1 (encoded by DMP1) is highly expressed in osteocytes4 and, when deleted in mice, results in a hypomineralized bone phenotype5. We investigated the potential for this gene not only to direct skeletal mineralization but also to regulate phosphate (Pi) homeostasis. Both Dmp1- null mice and individuals with a newly identified disorder, autosomal recessive hypophosphatemic rickets, manifest rickets and osteomalacia with isolated renal phosphate-wasting associated with elevated fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) levels and normocalciuria. Mutational analyses showed that autosomal recessive hypophosphatemic rickets family carried a mutation affecting the DMP1 start codon, and a second family carried a 7-bp deletion disrupting the highly conserved DMP1 C terminus. Mechanistic studies using Dmp1-null mice demonstrated that absence of DMP1 results in defective osteocyte maturation and increased FGF23 expression, leading to pathological changes in bone mineralization. Our findings suggest a bone-renal axis that is central to guiding proper mineral metabolism.
doi:10.1038/ng1905
PMCID: PMC1839871  PMID: 17033621
22.  Identification of a Novel Extracellular Cation-sensing G-protein-coupled Receptor* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2005;280(48):40201-40209.
The C family G-protein-coupled receptors contain members that sense amino acid and extracellular cations, of which calcium-sensing receptor (CASR) is the prototypic extracellular calcium-sensing receptor. Some cells, such as osteoblasts in bone, retain responsiveness to extracellular calcium in CASR-deficient mice, consistent with the existence of another calcium-sensing receptor. We examined the calcium-sensing properties of GPRC6A, a newly identified member of this family. Alignment of GPRC6A with CASR revealed conservation of both calcium and calcimimetic binding sites. In addition, calcium, magnesium, strontium, aluminum, gadolinium, and the calcimimetic NPS 568 resulted in a dose-dependent stimulation of GPRC6A overexpressed in human embryonic kidney cells 293 cells. Also, osteocalcin, a calcium-binding protein highly expressed in bone, dose-dependently stimulated GPRC6A activity in the presence of calcium but inhibited the calcium-dependent activation of CASR. Coexpression of β-arrestins 1 and 2, regulators of G-protein signaling RGS2 or RGS4, the RhoA inhibitor C3 toxin, the dominant negative Gαq-(305–359) minigene, and pretreatment with pertussis toxin inhibited activation of GPRC6A by extracellular cations. Reverse transcription-PCR analyses showed that mouse GPRC6A is widely expressed in mouse tissues, including bone, calvaria, and the osteoblastic cell line MC3T3-E1. These data suggest that in addition to sensing amino acids, GPRC6A is a cation-, calcimimetic-, and osteocalcin-sensing receptor and a candidate for mediating extracellular calcium-sensing responses in osteoblasts and possibly other tissues.
doi:10.1074/jbc.M505186200
PMCID: PMC1435382  PMID: 16199532
23.  Anabolic effects of a G protein–coupled receptor kinase inhibitor expressed in osteoblasts 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2002;109(10):1361-1371.
G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) play a key role in regulating bone remodeling. Whether GPCRs exert anabolic or catabolic osseous effects may be determined by the rate of receptor desensitization in osteoblasts. Receptor desensitization is largely mediated by direct phosphorylation of GPCR proteins by a family of enzymes termed GPCR kinases (GRKs). We have selectively manipulated GRK activity in osteoblasts in vitro and in vivo by overexpressing a GRK inhibitor. We found that expression of a GRK inhibitor enhanced parathyroid hormone (PTH)/PTH-related peptide (PTHrP) receptor-stimulated cAMP generation and inhibited agonist-induced phosphorylation of this receptor in cell culture systems, consistent with attenuation of receptor desensitization. To determine the effect of GRK inhibition on bone formation in vivo, we targeted the expression of a GRK inhibitor to mature osteoblasts using the mouse osteocalcin gene 2 (OG2) promoter. Transgenic mice demonstrated enhanced bone remodeling as well as enhanced urinary excretion of the osteoclastic activity marker dexoypyridinoline. Both osteoprotegrin and OPG ligand mRNA levels were altered in calvaria of transgenic mice in a pattern that would promote osteoclast activation. The predominant effect of the transgene, however, was anabolic, as evidenced by an increase in bone density and trabecular bone volume in the transgenic mice compared with nontransgenic littermate controls.
doi:10.1172/JCI14663
PMCID: PMC150976  PMID: 12021252
24.  A Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Identifying FGF23 Regulated Genes in the Kidney of a Mouse CKD Model 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44161.
Elevations of circulating Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) are associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes and progression of renal failure in chronic kidney disease (CKD). Efforts to identify gene products whose transcription is directly regulated by FGF23 stimulation of fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFR)/α-Klotho complexes in the kidney is confounded by both systemic alterations in calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D metabolism and intrinsic alterations caused by the underlying renal pathology in CKD. To identify FGF23 responsive genes in the kidney that might explain the association between FGF23 and adverse outcomes in CKD, we performed comparative genome wide analysis of gene expression profiles in the kidney of the Collagen 4 alpha 3 null mice (Col4a3−/−) model of progressive kidney disease with kidney expression profiles of Hypophosphatemic (Hyp) and FGF23 transgenic mouse models of elevated FGF23. The different complement of potentially confounding factors in these models allowed us to identify genes that are directly targeted by FGF23. This analysis found that α-Klotho, an anti-aging hormone and FGF23 co-receptor, was decreased by FGF23. We also identified additional FGF23-responsive transcripts and activation of networks associated with renal damage and chronic inflammation, including lipocalin 2 (Lcn2), transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) signaling pathways. Finally, we found that FGF23 suppresses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expression in the kidney, thereby providing a pathway for FGF23 regulation of the renin-angiotensin system. These gene products provide a possible mechanistic links between elevated FGF23 and pathways responsible for renal failure progression and cardiovascular diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044161
PMCID: PMC3435395  PMID: 22970174
25.  GPRC6A Null Mice Exhibit Osteopenia, Feminization and Metabolic Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3858.
Background
GPRC6A is a widely expressed orphan G-protein coupled receptor that senses extracellular amino acids, osteocalcin and divalent cations in vitro. The physiological functions of GPRC6A are unknown.
Methods/Principal Findings
In this study, we created and characterized the phenotype of GPRC6A−/− mice. We observed complex metabolic abnormalities in GPRC6A−/− mice involving multiple organ systems that express GPRC6A, including bone, kidney, testes, and liver. GPRC6A−/− mice exhibited hepatic steatosis, hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance, and insulin resistance. In addition, we observed high expression of GPRC6A in Leydig cells in the testis. Ablation of GPRC6A resulted in feminization of male GPRC6A−/− mice in association with decreased lean body mass, increased fat mass, increased circulating levels of estradiol, and reduced levels of testosterone. GPRC6A was also highly expressed in kidney proximal and distal tubules, and GPRC6A−/− mice exhibited increments in urine Ca/Cr and PO4/Cr ratios as well as low molecular weight proteinuria. Finally, GPRC6A−/− mice exhibited a decrease in bone mineral density (BMD) in association with impaired mineralization of bone.
Conclusions/Significance
GPRC6A−/− mice have a metabolic syndrome characterized by defective osteoblast-mediated bone mineralization, abnormal renal handling of calcium and phosphorus, fatty liver, glucose intolerance and disordered steroidogenesis. These findings suggest the overall function of GPRC6A may be to coordinate the anabolic responses of multiple tissues through the sensing of extracellular amino acids, osteocalcin and divalent cations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003858
PMCID: PMC2585477  PMID: 19050760

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