NF-κB has been reported to both promote and inhibit bone formation. To explore its role in osteolineage cells, we conditionally deleted IKKα, an upstream kinase required for non-canonical NF-κB activation, using Osterix (Osx)-Cre. Surprisingly, we found no effect on either cancellous or cortical bone, even following mechanical loading. However, we noted that IKKα conditional knockout (cKO) mice began to lose body weight after 6 months of age with severe reductions in fat mass and lower adipocyte size in geriatric animals. qPCR analysis of adipogenic markers in fat pads of cKO mice indicated no difference in early differentiation, but instead markedly lower leptin with age. We challenged young mice with a high fat diet finding that cKO mice gained less weight and showed improved glucose metabolism. Low levels of recombination at the IKKα locus were detected in fat pads isolated from old cKO mice. To determine whether recombination occurs in adipocytes, we examined fat pads in Osx-Cre;TdT reporter mice; these showed increasing Osx-Cre-mediated expression in peripheral adipocytes from 6 weeks to 18 months. Since Osx-Cre drives recombination in peripheral adipocytes with age, we conclude that fat loss in cKO mice is most likely caused by progressive deficits of IKKα in adipocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4915
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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