Introduction: Angiogenesis is closely associated with bone formation, especially endochondral ossification. Angiopoietin 1 (Ang1) is a specific growth factor functioning to generate a stable and matured vasculature through the Tie2 receptor/PI3K/AKT pathway. Recently cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP)-Ang1, an Ang1 variant which is more potent than native Ang1 in phosphorylating Tie2 receptor and AKT, was developed. This study was designed to examine the effects of angiogenic COMP-Ang1 on BMP2-induced osteoblast differentiation and bone formation.
Methods: Expression of endogenous Ang-1 and its binding receptor Tie 2 mRNA was examined in osteoblast-like cells and primary mouse calvarial cells by RT-PCR analysis, and was also monitored during osteoblast differentiation induced by BMP-2 and/or ascorbic acid and beta-glycerophosphate. Effects of COMP-Ang-1 on osteoblast differentiation and mineralization were evaluated by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and osteocalcin (OC) production, and Alizarin red stain. For a molecular mechanism, Western blot and OG2 and 6xOSE promoter assays were done. For in vivo evaluation, adenoviral (Ad) vectors containing COMP-Ang-1 or BMP-2 gene were administered into thigh muscle of mice, and after 2 weeks bone formation was analyzed by micro-computed tomography and histology. Angiogenic event of COMP-Ang1 was confirmed by immunofluorescence analysis with anti-CD31 antibody.
Results: Expression of Tie2 receptor was significantly increased in the course of osteoblast differentiation. Treatment or overexpression of COMP-Ang1 enhanced BMP2-induced ALP activity, OC production, and mineral deposition in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, COMP-Ang1 synergistically increased OG2 and 6xOSE promoter activities of BMP2, and sustained p38, Smad and AKT phosphorylation of BMP2. Notably, in vivo intramuscular injection of COMP-Ang1 dose-dependently enhanced BMP2-induced ectopic bone formation with increases in CD31 reactivity.
Conclusions: These results suggest that COMP-Ang1 synergistically enhanced osteoblast differentiation and bone formation through potentiating BMP2 signaling pathways and angiogenesis. Combination of BMP2 and COMP-Ang1 should be clinically useful for therapeutic application to fracture and destructive bone diseases.
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