Objective: Accelerated osteoclastic bone resorption plays a central role in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis and other bone diseases. Because identifying the molecular pathways that regulate osteoclast activity provides a key to understanding the causes of these diseases and developing new treatments, we studied the effect of adenosine A(1) receptor blockade or deletion on bone density.
Methods: The bone mineral density (BMD) in adenosine A(1) receptor-knockout (A(1)R-knockout) mice was analyzed by dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanning, and the trabecular and cortical bone volume was determined by microfocal computed tomography (micro-CT). The mice were ovariectomized or sham-operated, and 5 weeks after surgery, when osteopenia had developed, several parameters were analyzed by DXA scanning and micro-CT. A histologic examination of bones obtained from A(1)R-knockout and wild-type mice was carried out. Visualization of osteoblast function (bone formation) after tetracycline double-labeling was performed by fluorescence microscopy.
Results: Micro-CT analysis of bones from A(1)R-knockout mice showed significantly increased bone volume. Electron microscopy of bones from A(1)R-knockout mice showed the absence of ruffled borders of osteoclasts and osteoclast bone resorption. Immunohistologic analysis demonstrated that although osteoclasts were present in the A(1)R-knockout mice, they were smaller and often not associated with bone. No morphologic changes in osteoblasts were observed, and bone-labeling studies revealed no change in the bone formation rates in A(1)R-knockout mice.
Conclusion: These results suggest that the adenosine A(1) receptor may be a useful target in treating diseases characterized by excessive bone turnover, such as osteoporosis and prosthetic joint loosening.