Osteoblasts Display Different Responsiveness to TRAIL-Induced Apoptosis During Their Differentiation Process

Giacomina Brunetti, Angela Oranger, Claudia Carbone, Giorgio Mori, Francesca Rita Sardone, Claudio Mori, Monica Celi, Maria Felicia Faienza, Umberto Tarantino, Alberta Zallone, Maria Grano, Silvia Colucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Apoptosis can occur throughout the life span of osteoblasts (OBs), beginning from the early stages of differentiation and continuing throughout all stages of their working life. Here, we investigated the effects of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) on normal human OBs showing for the first time that the expression of TRAIL receptors is modulated during OB differentiation. In particular, the TRAIL receptor ratio was in favor of the deaths because of the low expression of DcR2 in undifferentiated OBs, differently it was shifted toward the decoys in differentiated ones. Undifferentiated OBs treated with TRAIL showed reduced cell viability, whereas differentiated OBs displayed TRAIL resistance. The OB sensitiveness to TRAIL was due to the up-regulation of DR5 and the down-regulation of DcR2. The main death receptor involved in TRAIL-reduced OB viability was DR5 as demonstrated by the rescue of cell viability observed in the presence of anti-DR5 neutralizing antibody. Besides the ratio of TRAIL receptors, the sensitivity of undifferentiated OBs to TRAIL-cytotoxic effect was also associated with low mRNA levels of intracellular anti-apoptotic proteins, such as cFLIP, the activation of caspase-8 and -3, as well as the DNA fragmentation. This study suggests that apoptotic effect exerted by TRAIL/TRAIL-receptor system on normal human OB is strictly dependent upon cell differentiation status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1127-1136
Number of pages10
JournalCell Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Apoptosis
  • c-FLIP
  • DcR2
  • Osteoblast
  • TRAIL receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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