High fracture rate and high circulating levels of the Wnt inhibitor, sclerostin, have been reported in diabetic patients. We studied the effects of Wnt signaling activation on bone health in a mouse model of insulin-deficient diabetes. We introduced the sclerostin-resistant Lrp5A214V mutation, associated with high bone mass, in mice carrying the Ins2Akita mutation (Akita), which results in loss of beta cells, insulin deficiency, and diabetes in males. Akita mice accrue less trabecular bone mass with age relative to wild type (WT). Double heterozygous Lrp5A214V/Akita mutants have high trabecular bone mass and cortical thickness relative to WT animals, as do Lrp5A214V single mutants. Likewise, the Lrp5A214V mutation prevents deterioration of biomechanical properties occurring in Akita mice. Notably, Lrp5A214V/Akita mice develop fasting hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance with a delay relative to Akita mice (7 to 8 vs. 5 to 6 weeks, respectively), despite lack of insulin production in both groups by 6 weeks of age. Although insulin sensitivity is partially preserved in double heterozygous Lrp5A214V/Akita relative to Akita mutants up to 30 weeks of age, insulin-dependent phosphorylated protein kinase B (pAKT) activation in vitro is not altered by the Lrp5A214V mutation. Although white adipose tissue depots are equally reduced in both compound and Akita mice, the Lrp5A214V mutation prevents brown adipose tissue whitening that occurs in Akita mice. Thus, hyperactivation of Lrp5-dependent signaling fully protects bone mass and strength in prolonged hyperglycemia and improves peripheral glucose metabolism in an insulin independent manner. Wnt signaling activation represents an ideal therapeutic approach for diabetic patients at high risk of fracture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403-1415
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • BONE
  • Lrp5


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