Extracellular ATP released by osteoblasts is a key local inhibitor of bone mineralisation

Orriss, I R and Key, M L and Hajjawi, M O R and Arnett, T R (2013) Extracellular ATP released by osteoblasts is a key local inhibitor of bone mineralisation. PLoS One, 8 (7). e69057.

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Previous studies have shown that exogenous ATP (>1µM) prevents bone formation in vitro by blocking mineralisation of the collagenous matrix. This effect is thought to be mediated via both P2 receptor-dependent pathways and a receptor-independent mechanism (hydrolysis of ATP to produce the mineralisation inhibitor pyrophosphate, PPi). Osteoblasts are also known to release ATP constitutively. To determine whether this endogenous ATP might exert significant biological effects, bone-forming primary rat osteoblasts were cultured with 0.5-2.5U/ml apyrase (which sequentially hydrolyses ATP to ADP to AMP + 2Pi). Addition of 0.5U/ml apyrase to osteoblast culture medium degraded extracellular ATP to <1% of control levels within 2 minutes; continuous exposure to apyrase maintained this inhibition for up to 14 days. Apyrase treatment for the first 72 hours of culture caused small decreases (≤25%) in osteoblast number, suggesting a role for endogenous ATP in stimulating cell proliferation. Continuous apyrase treatment for 14 days (≥0.5U/ml) increased mineralisation of bone nodules by up to 3-fold. Increases in bone mineralisation were also seen when osteoblasts were cultured with the ATP release inhibitors, NEM and brefeldin A, as well as with P2X1 and P2X7 receptor antagonists. Apyrase decreased alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) activity by up to 60%, whilst increasing the activity of the PPi-generating ecto-nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterases (NPPs) up to 2.7-fold. Both collagen production and adipocyte formation were unaffected. These data suggest that nucleotides released by osteoblasts in bone could act locally, via multiple mechanisms, to limit mineralisation.

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