Focal adhesion proteins Pinch1 and Pinch2 regulate bone homeostasis in mice.
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Mammalian focal adhesion proteins Pinch1 and Pinch2 regulate integrin activation and cell-extracellular matrix adhesion and migration. Here, we show that deleting Pinch1 in osteocytes and mature osteoblasts using the 10-kb mouse Dmp1-Cre and Pinch2 globally (double KO; dKO) results in severe osteopenia throughout life, while ablating either gene does not cause bone loss, suggesting a functional redundancy of both factors in bone. Pinch deletion in osteocytes and mature osteoblasts generates signals that inhibit osteoblast and bone formation. Pinch-deficient osteocytes and conditioned media from dKO bone slice cultures contain abundant sclerostin protein and potently suppress osteoblast differentiation in primary BM stromal cells (BMSC) and calvarial cultures. Pinch deletion increases adiposity in the BM cavity. Primary dKO BMSC cultures display decreased osteoblastic but enhanced adipogenic, differentiation capacity. Pinch loss decreases expression of integrin 3, integrin-linked kinase (ILK), and -parvin and increases that of active caspase-3 and -8 in osteocytes. Pinch loss increases osteocyte apoptosis in vitro and in bone. Pinch loss upregulates expression of both Rankl and Opg in the cortical bone and does not increase osteoclast formation and bone resorption. Finally, Pinch ablation exacerbates hindlimb unloading-induced bone loss and impairs active ulna loading-stimulated bone formation. Thus, we establish a critical role of Pinch in control of bone homeostasis.