The mutation responsible for the high bone mass (HBM) phenotype has been postulated to act through the adaptive response of bone to mechanical load resulting in denser and stronger skeletons in humans and animals. The bone phenotype of members of a HBM family is characterized by normally shaped bones that are exceptionally dense, particularly at load bearing sites [Cancer Res. 59 (1999) 1572]. The high bone mass (HBM) mutation was identified as a glycine to valine substitution at amino acid residue 171 in the gene coding for low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 5 (LRP5) [Bone Miner. Res. 16(4) (2001) 758]. Thus, efforts have focused on the examination of the role of LRP5 and the G171V mutation in bone mechanotransduction responses [J. Bone Miner. Res 18 (2002) 960]. Transgenic mice expressing the human G171V mutation have been shown to have skeletal phenotypes remarkably similar to those seen in affected individuals. In this study, we have identified differences in biomechanical (structural and apparent material) properties, bone mass/ash, and bone stiffness of cortical and cancellous bone driven by the G171V mutation in LRP5. As in humans, the LRP5 G171V plays an important role in regulating bone structural phenotypes in mice. These bone phenotypes include greater structural and apparent material properties in HBM HET as compared to non-transgenic littermates (NTG) mice. Body size and weight in HBM HET were similar to that in NTG control mice. However, the LRP5 G171V mutation in HET mice results in a skeleton that has greater structural (femoral shaft, femoral neck, tibiae, vertebral body) and apparent material (vertebral body) strength, percent bone ash weight (ulnae), and tibial stiffness. Despite similar body weight to NTG mice, the denser and stiffer bones in G171V mice may represent greater bone formation sensitivity to normal mechanical stimuli resulting in an overadaptation of skeleton to weight-related forces.
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