Nuclear factor of activated T cells 1 and 2 are required for vertebral homeostasis
E Canalis, etc Journal of Cellular Physiology,
The present study defines the function of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT)c1 and NFATc2 in osteoblast function in vivo and in vitro. Nfatc1 loxP/loxP , Nfatc2 loxP/loxP , and Nfatc1 loxP/loxP ;Nfatc2 loxP/loxP conditional mice were mated with BGLAP-Cre transgenics to inactivate Nfatc1 and Nfatc2 singly and in combination in osteoblasts. Microcomputed tomography demonstrated that male and female conditionally inactivated Nfatc1 , Nfatc2 and dual Nfatc1;Nfatc2 mice had osteopenia at Lumbar 3 (L3) sites when compared to littermate controls. However, the Nfatc1 and Nfatc2 inactivation singly and in combination in Bglap -expressing osteoblasts did not result in an appreciable phenotype at femoral sites. Bone histomorphometry of L3 confirmed the osteopenic phenotype and demonstrated that Nfatc1;Nfatc2 inactivated male mice had a significant decrease in osteoblast number and in osteoblast surface and osteoid surface. The dual downregulation of Nfatc1 and Nfatc2 in bone marrow stromal cells caused a decrease in Alpl and Bglap expression, confirming a role of these transcription factors in osteoblast function. In conclusion, our studies reveal that NFATc1 and NFATc2 are necessary for optimal vertebral, but not femoral, bone homeostasis in vivo and osteoblast differentiation in vitro.