Extracellular Vesicles From Osteotropic Breast Cancer Cells Affect Bone Resident Cells: Journal of Bone and Mineral Research

A. Loftus, A. Cappariello, C. George, A. Ucci, K. Shefferd, A. Green, R. Paone, M. Ponzetti, S. Delle Monache, M. Muraca, A. Teti, N. Rucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are emerging as mediators of a range of pathological processes, including cancer. However, their role in bone metastases has been poorly explored. We investigated EV-mediated effects of osteotropic breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231) on bone resident cells and endothelial cells. Pretreatment of osteoblasts with conditioned medium (CM) of MDA-MB-231 (MDA) cells promoted pro-osteoclastogenic and pro-angiogenic effects by osteoblast EVs (OB-EVs), as well as an increase of RANKL-positive OB-EVs. Moreover, when treating osteoblasts with MDA-EVs, we observed a reduction of their number, metabolic activity, and alkaline phosphatase (Alp) activity. MDA-EVs also reduced transcription of Cyclin D1 and of the osteoblast-differentiating genes, while enhancing the expression of the pro-osteoclastogenic factors Rankl, Lcn2, Il1b, and Il6. Interestingly, a cytokine array on CM from osteoblasts treated with MDA-EVs showed an increase of the cytokines CCL3, CXCL2, Reg3G, and VEGF, while OPG and WISP1 were downregulated. MDA-EVs contained mRNAs of genes involved in bone metabolism, as well as cytokines, including PDGF-BB, CCL3, CCL27, VEGF, and Angiopoietin 2. In line with this profile, MDA-EVs increased osteoclastogenesis and in vivo angiogenesis. Finally, intraperitoneal injection of MDA-EVs in mice revealed their ability to reach the bone microenvironment and be integrated by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. In conclusion, we showed a role for osteoblast-derived EVs and tumor cell–derived EVs in the deregulation of bone and endothelial cell physiology, thus fueling the vicious cycle induced by bone tumors. © 2019 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. © 2019 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-412
Number of pages17
JournalJ. Bone Miner. Res.
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • alkaline phosphatase
  • angiopoietin 2
  • collagen 1a1
  • collagen type 1
  • cutaneous T cell attracting chemokine
  • CXCL2 chemokine
  • cyclin D1
  • estrogen receptor
  • gamma interferon inducible protein 10
  • inducible nitric oxide synthase
  • interleukin 1beta
  • interleukin 6
  • macrophage inflammatory protein 1alpha
  • macrophage inflammatory protein 3alpha
  • messenger RNA
  • neutrophil gelatinase associated lipocalin
  • osteocalcin
  • osteoclast differentiation factor
  • pancreatitis associated protein
  • platelet derived growth factor BB
  • transcription factor osterix
  • transcription factor RUNX2
  • transforming growth factor beta1
  • unclassified drug
  • vasculotropin
  • 4T1 cell line
  • angiogenesis
  • animal experiment
  • animal model
  • animal tissue
  • Article
  • bone cell
  • bone metabolism
  • breast cancer
  • cell count
  • cell differentiation
  • chondrocyte
  • comparative study
  • controlled study
  • cytokine release
  • down regulation
  • endothelium cell
  • enzyme activity
  • enzyme linked immunosorbent assay
  • ex vivo study
  • exosome
  • female
  • histochemistry
  • human
  • human cell
  • in vitro study
  • in vivo study
  • male
  • mouse
  • mRNA expression level
  • MTT assay
  • nonhuman
  • osteoblast
  • osteoclast
  • osteoclastogenesis
  • osteoporosis
  • transmission electron microscopy
  • Western blotting


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