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mTOR inhibition rescues osteopenia in mice with systemic sclerosis.

  • Author(s): Chen, Chider
  • Akiyama, Kentaro
  • Wang, Dandan
  • Xu, Xingtian
  • Li, Bei
  • Moshaverinia, Alireza
  • Brombacher, Frank
  • Sun, Lingyun
  • Shi, Songtao
  • et al.

Fibrillin-1 (FBN1) deficiency-induced systemic sclerosis is attributed to elevation of interleukin-4 (IL4) and TGF-β, but the mechanism underlying FBN1 deficiency-associated osteopenia is not fully understood. We show that bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) from FBN1-deficient (Fbn1(+/-)) mice exhibit decreased osteogenic differentiation and increased adipogenic differentiation. Mechanistically, this lineage alteration is regulated by IL4/IL4Rα-mediated activation of mTOR signaling to down-regulate RUNX2 and up-regulate PPARγ2, respectively, via P70 ribosomal S6 protein kinase (P70S6K). Additionally, we reveal that activation of TGF-β/SMAD3/SP1 signaling results in enhancement of SP1 binding to the IL4Rα promoter to synergistically activate mTOR pathway in Fbn1(+/-) BMMSCs. Blockage of mTOR signaling by osteoblastic-specific knockout or rapamycin treatment rescues osteopenia phenotype in Fbn1(+/-) mice by improving osteogenic differentiation of BMMSCs. Collectively, this study identifies a previously unrecognized role of the FBN1/TGF-β/IL4Rα/mTOR cascade in BMMSC lineage selection and provides experimental evidence that rapamycin treatment may provide an anabolic therapy for osteopenia in Fbn1(+/-) mice.

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