The high-density lipoprotein receptor Scarb1 is required for normal bone differentiation in vivo and in vitro

Irina L. Tourkova, Steven F. Dobrowolski, Cassandra Secunda, Mone Zaidi, Ioanna Papadimitriou-Olivgeri, Dionysios J. Papachristiou, Harry C. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We examined bone formation and turnover in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) receptor, scavenger receptor type I (Scarb1), knockout animals relative to wild-type (WT) controls. Scarb1−/− animals have elevated serum adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) due to the role of Scarb1 in glucocorticoid production, which might cause increased bone mass. However, this was not observed: Scarb1−/− mice, with ACTH, over 1000 pg/ml relative to wild-type ACTH ~ 25 pg/ml, bone of the knockout animals was osteopenic relative to the wild type at 16 weeks, including bone volume/total volume and trabecular thickness. Other serum parameters of WT and Scarb1−/− animals in cortisol or calcium were unaffected, although Scarb1−/− animals had significantly elevated PTH and decreased phosphate. Osteoblast and osteoclast-related mRNAs extracted from bone were greatly decreased at 8 or 16 weeks. Importantly, in normal ACTH, osteogenic differentiation in vitro from mesenchymal stem cells showed reduced alkaline phosphatase and mineralization. In Scarb1−/− cells relative to WT, mRNAs for RunX2, alkaline phosphatase, type I collagen, and osteocalcin were reduced 40–90%, all p < 0.01, indicating a role of Scarb1 in osteoblast differentiation independent of ACTH. Additionally, in vitro osteoblast differentiation at variable ACTH in WT cells confirmed ACTH increasing bone differentiation, mineralization, alkaline phosphatase, and osteocalcin mRNA at 0–10 nM ACTH, but reduced bone differentiation at 100–1000 nM ACTH. Overall Scarb1−/− animals show inhibited bone formation with age. This may be a mixed effect on direct bone formation and of very high ACTH. Further, this work shows that both ACTH concentration and the HDL receptor Scarb1 play important independent roles in osteoblast differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1850-1860
Number of pages11
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


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