Recent increasing evidence supports a role for neuronal type signaling in bone. Specifically glutamate receptors have been found in cells responsible for bone remodeling, namely the osteoblasts and the osteoclasts. While most studies have focused on ionotropic glutamate receptors, the relevance of the metabotropic glutamate signaling in bone is poorly understood. Specifically type 1 metabotropic glutamate (mGlu1) receptors are expressed in bone, but the effect of its ablation on skeletal development has never been investigated. Here we report that Grm1crv4/crv4 mice, homozygous for an inactivating mutation of the mGlu1 receptor, and mainly characterized by ataxia and renal dysfunction, exhibit decreased body weight, bone length and bone mineral density compared to wild type (WT) animals. Blood analyses of the affected mice demonstrate the absence of changes in circulating factors, such as vitamin D and PTH, suggesting renal damage is not the main culprit of the skeletal phenotype. Cultures of osteoblasts lacking functional mGlu1 receptors exhibit less homogeneous collagen deposition than WT cells, and present increased expression of osteocalcin, a marker of osteoblast maturation. These data suggest that the skeletal damage is directly linked to the absence of the receptor, which in turn leads to osteoblasts dysfunction and earlier maturation. Accordingly, skeletal histomorphology suggests that Grm1crv4/crv4 mice exhibit enhanced bone maturation, resulting in premature fusion of the growth plate and shortened long bones, and further slowdown of bone apposition rate compared to the WT animals. In summary, this work reveals novel functions of mGlu1 receptors in the bone and indicates that in osteoblasts mGlu1 receptors are necessary for production of normal bone matrix, longitudinal bone growth, and normal skeletal development.
- Journal Article