Disruption of BMP signaling in osteoblasts through type IA receptor (BMPRIA) increases bone mass.
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Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are known as ectopic bone inducers. The FDA approved BMPs (BMP2 and BMP7) for clinical use. However, direct effects of BMPs on endogenous bone metabolism are not yet well known. We conditionally disrupted BMP receptor type IA (BMPRIA) in osteoblasts during weanling and adult stages to show the impact of BMP signaling on endogenous bone modeling and remodeling. Cre recombination was detected in immature osteoblasts in the periosteum, osteoblasts, and osteocytes but not in chondrocytes and osteoclasts after tamoxifen administration. Bmpr1a conditional knockout mice (cKO) showed increased bone mass primarily in trabecular bone at P21 and 22 wk as determined by H&E staining. Vertebrae, tails, and ribs showed increased radiodensity at 22 wk, consistent with a significant increase in BMD. Both muCT and histomorphometry showed an increase in trabecular BV/TV and thickness of cKO adult bones, whereas osteoclast number, bone formation rate, and mineral apposition rate were decreased. Expression levels of bone formation markers (Runx2 and Bsp), resorption markers (Mmp9, Ctsk, and Tracp), and Rankl were decreased, and Opg was increased in adult bones, resulting in a reduction in the ratio of Rankl to osteoprotegerin (Opg). The reduction in osteoclastogenesis through the RANKL-OPG pathway was also observed in weanling stages and reproduced in newborn calvaria culture. These results suggest that Bmpr1a cKO increased endogenous bone mass primarily in trabecular bone with decreased osteoclastogenesis through the RANKL-OPG pathway. We conclude that BMPRIA signaling in osteoblasts affects both bone formation and resorption to reduce endogenous bone mass in vivo.