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LRP receptors in chondrocytes are modulated by simulated microgravity and cyclic hydrostatic pressure.


Mechanical loading is essential for the maintenance of musculoskeletal homeostasis. Cartilage has been demonstrated to be highly mechanoresponsive, but the mechanisms by which chondrocytes respond to mechanical stimuli are not clearly understood. The goal of the study was to determine how LRP4, LRP5, and LRP6 within canonical Wnt-signaling are regulated in simulated microgravity and cyclic hydrostatic pressure, and to investigate the potential role of LRP 4/5/6 in cartilage degeneration. Rat chondrosacroma cell (RCS) pellets were stimulated using either cyclic hydrostatic pressure (1Hz, 7.5 MPa, 4hr/day) or simulated microgravity in a rotating wall vessel (RWV) bioreactor (11RPM, 24hr/day). LRP4/5/6 mRNA expression was assessed by RT-qPCR and LRP5 protein expression was determined by fluorescent immunostaining. To further evaluate our in vitro findings in vivo, mice were subjected to hindlimb suspension for 14 days and the femoral heads stained for LRP5 expression. We found that, in vitro, LRP4/5/6 mRNA expression is modulated in a time-dependent manner by mechanical stimulation. Additionally, LRP5 protein expression is upregulated in response to both simulated microgravity and cyclic hydrostatic pressure. LRP5 is also upregulated in vivo in the articular cartilage of hindlimb suspended mice. This is the first study to examine how LRP4/5/6, critical receptors within musculoskeletal biology, respond to mechanical stimulation. Further elucidation of this mechanism could provide significant clinical benefit for the identification of pharmaceutical targets for the maintenance of cartilage health.

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