FGF23 gene regulation by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D: opposing effects in adipocytes and osteocytes

J Endocrinol. 2015 Sep;226(3):155-66. doi: 10.1530/JOE-15-0225. Epub 2015 Jul 6.


In a closed endocrine loop, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D) induces the expression of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) in bone, with the phosphaturic peptide in turn acting at kidney to feedback repress CYP27B1 and induce CYP24A1 to limit the levels of 1,25D. In 3T3-L1 differentiated adipocytes, 1,25D represses FGF23 and leptin expression and induces C/EBPβ, but does not affect leptin receptor transcription. Conversely, in UMR-106 osteoblast-like cells, FGF23 mRNA concentrations are upregulated by 1,25D, an effect that is blunted by lysophosphatidic acid, a cell-surface acting ligand. Progressive truncation of the mouse FGF23 proximal promoter linked in luciferase reporter constructs reveals a 1,25D-responsive region between -400 and -200 bp. A 0.6 kb fragment of the mouse FGF23 promoter, linked in a reporter construct, responds to 1,25D with a fourfold enhancement of transcription in transfected K562 cells. Mutation of either an ETS1 site at -346 bp, or an adjacent candidate vitamin D receptor (VDR)/Nurr1-element, in the 0.6 kb reporter construct reduces the transcriptional activity elicited by 1,25D to a level that is not significantly different from a minimal promoter. This composite ETS1-VDR/Nurr1 cis-element may function as a switch between induction (osteocytes) and repression (adipocytes) of FGF23, depending on the cellular setting of transcription factors. Moreover, experiments demonstrate that a 1 kb mouse FGF23 promoter-reporter construct, transfected into MC3T3-E1 osteoblast-like cells, responds to a high calcium challenge with a statistically significant 1.7- to 2.0-fold enhancement of transcription. Thus, the FGF23 proximal promoter harbors cis elements that drive responsiveness to 1,25D and calcium, agents that induce FGF23 to curtail the pathologic consequences of their excess.

Keywords: adipose; gene regulation; hormone receptors; transcription factors; vitamin D.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / genetics*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Lysophospholipids / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Osteocytes / drug effects*
  • Osteocytes / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Rats
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology


  • Fgf23 protein, mouse
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Vitamin D
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • lysophosphatidic acid