Biglycan deficiency interferes with ovariectomy-induced bone loss

J Bone Miner Res. 2003 Dec;18(12):2152-8. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.2003.18.12.2152.


Biglycan is a matrix proteoglycan with a possible role in bone turnover. In a 4-week study with sham-operated or OVX biglycan-deficient or wildtype mice, we show that biglycan-deficient mice are resistant to OVX-induced trabecular bone loss and that there is a gender difference in the response to biglycan deficiency.

Introduction: Biglycan (bgn) is a small extracellular matrix proteoglycan enriched in skeletal tissues, and biglycan-deficient male mice have decreased trabecular bone mass and bone strength. The purpose of this study was to investigate the bone phenotype of the biglycan-deficient female mice and to investigate the effect of estrogen depletion by ovariectomy (OVX).

Materials and methods: OVX or sham operations were performed on 21-week-old mice that were divided into four groups: wt sham (n = 7), wt OVX (n = 9), bgn-deficient sham (n = 10) and bgn-deficient OVX (n = 10). The mice were killed 4 weeks after surgery. Bone mass and bone turnover were analyzed by peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT), biochemical markers, and histomorphometry.

Results and conclusions: In contrast to the male mice, there were only few effects of bgn deficiency on bone metabolism in female mice, showing a clear gender difference. However, when stressed by OVX, the female bgn knockout (KO) mice were resistant to the OVX-induced trabecular bone loss. The wt mice showed a decrease in trabecular bone mineral density by pQCT measurements, a decrease in trabecular bone volume (BV/TV), and an increase in mineral apposition rate. In contrast, no significant changes were detected in bgn KO mice after OVX. In addition, analysis of the bone resorption marker deoxypyridinoline showed no significant increase in the bgn KO OVX mice compared with bgn KO sham mice. Measurements of serum osteoprotegerin (OPG) and RANKL revealed increased levels of OPG and decreased levels of RANKL in the bgn KO mice compared with wt mice. In conclusion, the bgn deficiency protects against increased trabecular bone turnover and bone loss in response to estrogen depletion, supporting the concept that bgn has dual roles in bone, where it may modulate both formation and resorption ultimately influencing the bone turnover process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biglycan
  • Bone Density
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Animal
  • Osteoclasts / physiology
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • Ovariectomy
  • Proteoglycans / deficiency*
  • RANK Ligand
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor


  • Bgn protein, mouse
  • Biglycan
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Osteoprotegerin
  • Proteoglycans
  • RANK Ligand
  • Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tnfrsf11a protein, mouse
  • Tnfrsf11b protein, mouse
  • Tnfsf11 protein, mouse