24,25-(OH)(2)D(3) regulates cartilage and bone via autocrine and endocrine mechanisms

Steroids. 2001 Mar-May;66(3-5):363-74. doi: 10.1016/s0039-128x(00)00162-8.


The purpose of this paper is to summarize recent advances in our understanding of the physiological role of 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3) in bone and cartilage and its mechanism of action. With the identification of a target cell, the growth plate resting zone (RC) chondrocyte, we have been able to use cell biology methodology to investigate specific functions of 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3) and to determine how 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3) elicits its effects. These studies indicate that there are specific membrane-associated signal transduction pathways that mediate both rapid, nongenomic and genomic responses of RC cells to 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3). 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3) binds RC chondrocyte membranes with high specificity, resulting in an increase in protein kinase C (PKC) activity. The effect is stereospecific; 24R,25(OH)(2)D(3), but not 24S,25-(OH)(2)D(3), causes the increase, indicating a receptor-mediated response. Phospholipase D-2 (PLD2) activity is increased, resulting in increased production of diacylglycerol (DAG), which in turn activates PKC. 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3) does not cause translocation of PKC to the plasma membrane, but activates existing PKCalpha. There is a rapid decrease in Ca(2+) efflux, and influx is stimulated. 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3) also reduces arachidonic acid release by decreasing phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) activity, thereby decreasing available substrate for prostaglandin production via the action of cyclooxygenase-1. PGE(2) that is produced acts on the EP1 and EP2 receptors expressed by RC cells to downregulate PKC via protein kinase A, but the reduction in PGE(2) decreases this negative feedback mechanism. Both pathways converge on MAP kinase, leading to new gene expression. One consequence of this is production of new matrix vesicles containing PKCalpha and PKCzeta and an increase in PKC activity. The chondrocytes also produce 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3), and the secreted metabolite acts directly on the matrix vesicle membrane. Only PKCzeta is directly affected by 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3) in the matrix vesicles, and activity of this isoform is inhibited. This effect may be involved in the control of matrix maturation and turnover. 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3) causes RC cells to mature along the endochondral developmental pathway, where they become responsive to 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) and lose responsiveness to 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3), a characteristic of more mature growth zone (GC) chondrocytes. 1alpha,25(OH)(2)D(3) elicits its effects on GC through different signal transduction pathways than those used by 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3). These studies indicate that 24(R),25(OH)(2)D(3) plays an important role in endochondral ossification by regulating less mature chondrocytes and promoting their maturation in the endochondral lineage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 24,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D 3 / pharmacology
  • 24,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D 3 / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Autocrine Communication / drug effects
  • Autocrine Communication / physiology*
  • Bone and Bones / cytology
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Cartilage / cytology
  • Cartilage / drug effects*
  • Cartilage / physiology
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects
  • Endocrine System / drug effects
  • Endocrine System / physiology*
  • Humans


  • 24,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D 3