Genetic evidence of serum phosphate-independent functions of FGF-23 on bone

PLoS Genet. 2008 Aug 8;4(8):e1000154. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000154.


Maintenance of physiologic phosphate balance is of crucial biological importance, as it is fundamental to cellular function, energy metabolism, and skeletal mineralization. Fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23) is a master regulator of phosphate homeostasis, but the molecular mechanism of such regulation is not yet completely understood. Targeted disruption of the Fgf-23 gene in mice (Fgf-23-/-) elicits hyperphosphatemia, and an increase in renal sodium/phosphate co-transporter 2a (NaPi2a) protein abundance. To elucidate the pathophysiological role of augmented renal proximal tubular expression of NaPi2a in Fgf-23-/- mice and to examine serum phosphate-independent functions of Fgf23 in bone, we generated a new mouse line deficient in both Fgf-23 and NaPi2a genes, and determined the effect of genomic ablation of NaPi2a from Fgf-23-/- mice on phosphate homeostasis and skeletal mineralization. Fgf-23-/-/NaPi2a-/- double mutant mice are viable and exhibit normal physical activities when compared to Fgf-23-/- animals. Biochemical analyses show that ablation of NaPi2a from Fgf-23-/- mice reversed hyperphosphatemia to hypophosphatemia by 6 weeks of age. Surprisingly, despite the complete reversal of serum phosphate levels in Fgf-23-/-/NaPi2a-/-, their skeletal phenotype still resembles the one of Fgf23-/- animals. The results of this study provide the first genetic evidence of an in vivo pathologic role of NaPi2a in regulating abnormal phosphate homeostasis in Fgf-23-/- mice by deletion of both NaPi2a and Fgf-23 genes in the same animal. The persistence of the skeletal anomalies in double mutants suggests that Fgf-23 affects bone mineralization independently of systemic phosphate homeostasis. Finally, our data support (1) that regulation of phosphate homeostasis is a systemic effect of Fgf-23, while (2) skeletal mineralization and chondrocyte differentiation appear to be effects of Fgf-23 that are independent of phosphate homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Density
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Bone and Bones / physiopathology
  • Calcification, Physiologic
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / genetics
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Hypophosphatemia / genetics
  • Hypophosphatemia / metabolism*
  • Hypophosphatemia / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Serum / chemistry
  • Skull / metabolism
  • Sodium-Phosphate Cotransporter Proteins, Type IIa / genetics
  • Sodium-Phosphate Cotransporter Proteins, Type IIa / metabolism
  • Urine / chemistry


  • Phosphates
  • Slc34a1 protein, mouse
  • Sodium-Phosphate Cotransporter Proteins, Type IIa
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • fibroblast growth factor 23