Age-related decline in bone mineral transport and bone matrix proteins in osteoblasts from stromal stem cells

Irina L. Tourkova, Quitterie C. Larrouture, Kelechi M. Onwuka, Silvia Liu, Jianhua Luo, Paul H. Schlesinger, Harry C. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We studied osteoblast bone mineral transport and matrix proteins as a function of age. In isolated bone marrow cells from long bones of young (3 or 4 mo) and old (18 or 19 mo) mice, age correlated with reduced mRNA of mineral transport proteins: alkaline phosphatase (ALP), ankylosis (ANK), the Cl_/H exchanger ClC3, and matrix proteins collagen 1 (Col1) and osteocalcin (BGLAP). Some proteins, including the neutral phosphate transporter2 (NPT2), were not reduced. These are predominately osteoblast proteins, but in mixed cell populations. Remarkably, in osteoblasts differentiated from preparations of stromal stem cells (SSCs) made from bone marrow cells in young and old mice, differentiated in vitro on perforated polyethylene terephthalate membranes, mRNA confirmed decreased expression with age for most transport-related and bone matrix proteins. Additional mRNAs in osteoblasts in vitro included ecto-nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase 1 (ENPP1), unchanged, and ENPP2, reduced with age. Decrease with age in ALP activity and protein by Western blot was also significant. Transport protein findings correlated with micro-computed tomography of lumbar vertebra, showing that trabecular bone of old mice is osteopenic relative to young mice, consistent with other studies. Pathway analysis of osteoblasts differentiated in vitro showed that cells from old animals had reduced Erk1/2 phosphorylation and decreased suppressor of mothers against decapentaplegic 2 (Smad2) mRNA, consistent with TGFb pathway, and reduced b-catenin mRNA, consistent with WNT pathway regulation. Our results show that decline in bone density with age reflects selective changes, resulting effectively in a phenotype modification. Reduction of matrix and mineral transport protein expression with age is regulated by multiple signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C613-C622
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • aging
  • bone mineralization
  • osteoblast
  • osteoporosis
  • stromal stem cells


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