Setd2 is associated with strontium-induced bone regeneration

Acta Biomater. 2017 Apr 15;53:495-505. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2017.02.025. Epub 2017 Feb 20.


Strontium Ranelate has been utilized as a preventative treatment option for osteoporosis with the release of Sr ions having a direct effect on preventing osteoclast activation and promoting osteoblast differentiation. Previously our group has prepared and characterized a porous Sr-mesoporous bioactive glass (Sr-MBG) scaffold demonstrating its ability to enhance new bone formation when compared to MBG alone. The goal of the present study was to elucidate the bone-inducing properties of Sr by utilizing RNA-seq on in vivo tissue samples to investigate potential target genes responsible for Sr-induced new bone formation. The results demonstrated an increased expression and affiliation of Setd2 in the Sr-MBG group when compared to MBG group alone. Immunofluorescent staining further demonstrated a localization of Setd2 and H3K36me3 in Runx2-positive cells in defects treated with Sr-MBG scaffolds. It was detected that specifically MAPK pathway was activated in MG63 stimulated by Sr. To verify the role of Setd2 in bone formation in the presence of SrCl2, Setd2 was knocked-down and overexpressed in MG63 with/without SrCl2 stimulation. The result showed that Setd2 plays a positive role in osteoblast differentiation which was enhanced by SrCl2. Furthermore, it was found that Setd2 regulated the activation of ERK, which set up a positive feedback in the osteoblast differentiation process. Based on these findings, it was shown that Setd2 has an active role in osteoblast differentiation. As a histone methylase, Setd2 may also turn to be an epigenetic target for new treatment options of osteoporosis.

Statement of significance: Our research group recently demonstrated that the combination of MBG scaffolds with Sr, efficiently promoted bone regeneration in rat femoral defects even in severely compromised osteoporotic animals, however, the epigenetic mechanism by which Sr ions function to promote bone generation remains unclear. This study showed an increased expression and affiliation of Setd2 and H3K36me3. In vitro, the increased expression of Setd2 promoted osteoblastic differentiation of MG63 stimulated by SrCl2 in MAPK-dependent way, which activated ERK in turn leading to a positive feedback. Based on these findings, it was shown that Setd2 has an active role in osteoblast differentiation and may also turn to be an epigenetic target for new treatment options of osteoporosis and the development of novel bone regeneration scaffold.

Keywords: Bone regeneration; H3K36me3; Osteoporosis; RNA-seq; Setd2; Sr-MBG.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Regeneration
  • Bone Transplantation / instrumentation*
  • Bone Transplantation / methods
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Implants / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Femoral Fractures / drug therapy*
  • Femoral Fractures / metabolism*
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Femur / physiopathology*
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Strontium / administration & dosage*
  • Tissue Scaffolds*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Drug Implants
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • Setd2 protein, rat
  • Strontium