Mechanical strain stimulates nitric oxide production by rapid activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase in osteocytes

G Zaman, A A Pitsillides, S C F Rawlinson, R F L Suswillo, J R Mosley, M Z Cheng, L A M Platts, M Hukkanen, J M Polak, L E Lanyon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Previous studies have indicated that physiological levels of dynamic mechanical strain produce rapid increases in nitric oxide (NO) release from rat ulna explants and primary cultures of osteoblast-like cells and embryonic chick osteocytes derived from long bones. To establish the mechanism by which loading-induced NO production may be regulated, we have examined: nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isoform mRNA and protein expression, the effect of mechanical loading in vivo on NOS mRNA expression, and the effect of mechanical strain on NO production by bone cells in culture. Using Northern blot analyses, in situ hybridization, and immunocytochemistry we have established that the predominant NOS isoform expressed in rat long bone periosteal osteoblasts and in a distinct population of cortical bone osteocytes is the endothelial form of NOS (eNOS), with little or no expression of the inducible NOS or neuronal NOS isoforms, In contrast, in non-load-bearing calvariae there are no detectable levels of eNOS in osteocytes and little in osteoblasts. Consistent with these observations, ulnar explants release NO rapidly in response to loading in vitro, presumably through the activation of eNOS, whereas calvarial explants do not The relative contribution of different bone cells to these rapid increases in strain-induced NO release was established by assessment of medium nitrite (stable NO metabolite) concentration, which showed that purified populations of osteocytes produce significantly greater quantities of NO per cell in response to mechanical strain than osteoblast-like cells derived from the same bones. Using Northern blot hybridization, we have also shown that neither a single nor five consecutive daily periods of in vivo mechanical loading produced any significant effect on different NOS isoform mRNA expression in rat ulnae. In conclusion, our results indicate that eNOS is the prevailing isoform expressed by cells of the osteoblast/osteocyte lineage and that strain produces increases in the activity of eNOS without apparently altering the levels of eNOS mRNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1123-1131
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • RAT


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