FoxO1 is a positive regulator of bone formation by favoring protein synthesis and resistance to oxidative stress in osteoblasts

Cell Metab. 2010 Feb 3;11(2):147-60. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2010.01.001.


Osteoporosis, a disease of low bone mass, is associated with decreased osteoblast numbers and increased levels of oxidative stress within osteoblasts. Since transcription factors of the FoxO family confer stress resistance, we investigated their potential impact on skeletal integrity. Here we employ cell-specific deletion and molecular analyses to show that, among the three FoxO proteins, only FoxO1 is required for proliferation and redox balance in osteoblasts and thereby controls bone formation. FoxO1 regulation of osteoblast proliferation occurs through its interaction with ATF4, a transcription factor regulating amino acid import, as well as through its regulation of a stress-dependent pathway influencing p53 signaling. Accordingly, decreasing oxidative stress levels or increasing protein intake normalizes bone formation and bone mass in mice lacking FoxO1 specifically in osteoblasts. These results identify FoxO1 as a crucial regulator of osteoblast physiology and provide a direct mechanistic link between oxidative stress and the regulation of bone remodeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activating Transcription Factor 4 / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Forkhead Box Protein O1
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism*
  • Osteogenesis*
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Protein Biosynthesis


  • Atf4 protein, mouse
  • Forkhead Box Protein O1
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxo1 protein, mouse
  • Activating Transcription Factor 4