Loss of Gi G-Protein-Coupled Receptor Signaling in Osteoblasts Accelerates Bone Fracture Healing

J Bone Miner Res. 2015 Oct;30(10):1896-904. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.2540. Epub 2015 May 14.


G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are key regulators of skeletal homeostasis and are likely important in fracture healing. Because GPCRs can activate multiple signaling pathways simultaneously, we used targeted disruption of G(i) -GPCR or activation of G(s) -GPCR pathways to test how each pathway functions in the skeleton. We previously demonstrated that blockade of G(i) signaling by pertussis toxin (PTX) transgene expression in maturing osteoblastic cells enhanced cortical and trabecular bone formation and prevented age-related bone loss in female mice. In addition, activation of G(s) signaling by expressing the G(s) -coupled engineered receptor Rs1 in maturing osteoblastic cells induced massive trabecular bone formation but cortical bone loss. Here, we test our hypothesis that the G(i) and G(s) pathways also have distinct functions in fracture repair. We applied closed, nonstabilized tibial fractures to mice in which endogenous G(i) signaling was inhibited by PTX, or to mice with activated G(s) signaling mediated by Rs1. Blockade of endogenous G(i) resulted in a smaller callus but increased bone formation in both young and old mice. PTX treatment decreased expression of Dkk1 and increased Lef1 mRNAs during fracture healing, suggesting a role for endogenous G(i) signaling in maintaining Dkk1 expression and suppressing Wnt signaling. In contrast, adult mice with activated Gs signaling showed a slight increase in the initial callus size with increased callus bone formation. These results show that G(i) blockade and G(s) activation of the same osteoblastic lineage cell can induce different biological responses during fracture healing. Our findings also show that manipulating the GPCR/cAMP signaling pathway by selective timing of G(s) and G(i) -GPCR activation may be important for optimizing fracture repair.


Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP / genetics
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Fracture Healing / genetics*
  • Fractures, Bone* / genetics
  • Fractures, Bone* / metabolism
  • Fractures, Bone* / pathology
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go / metabolism
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Lymphoid Enhancer-Binding Factor 1 / genetics
  • Lymphoid Enhancer-Binding Factor 1 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism*
  • Osteoblasts / pathology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics*
  • Second Messenger Systems*


  • Dkk1 protein, mouse
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lef1 protein, mouse
  • Lymphoid Enhancer-Binding Factor 1
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Cyclic AMP
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go