Introduction: Osteoporosis is characterized by low BMD. Studies have shown that B cells may participate in osteoclastogenesis through expression of osteoclast-related factors, such as RANKL, transforming growth factor β (TGFB), and osteoprotegerin (OPG). However, the in vivo significance of B cells in human bone metabolism and osteoporosis is still largely unknown, particularly at the systematic gene expression level. Materials and Methods: In this study, Affymetrix HG-U133A GeneChip arrays were used to identify genes differentially expressed in B cells between 10 low and 10 high BMD postmenopausal women. Significance of differential expression was tested by t-test and adjusted for multiple testing with the Benjamini and Hochberg (BH) procedure (adjusted p ≤ 0.05). Results: Twenty-nine genes were downregulated in the low versus high BMD group. These genes were further analyzed using Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (Ingenuity Systems). A network involving estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1) and mitogen activated protein kinase 3 (MAPK3) was identified. Real-time RT-PCR confirmed differential expression of eight genes, including ESR1, MAPK3, methyl CpG binding protein 2 (MECP2), proline-serine-threonine phosphatase interacting protein 1 (PSTPIP1), Scr-like-adaptor (SLA), serine/threonine kinase 11 (STK11), WNK lysine-deficient protein kinase 1 (WNK1), and zinc finger protein 446 (ZNF446). Conclusions: This is the first in vivo genome-wide expression study on human B cells in relation to osteoporosis. Our results highlight the significance of B cells in the etiology of osteoporosis and suggest a novel mechanism for postmenopausal osteoporosis (i.e., that downregulation of ESR1 and MAPK3 in B cells regulates secretion of factors, leading to increased osteoclastogenesis or decreased osteoblastogenesis).
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