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Endocrine Journal
Vol. 59 (2012) No. 2 P 91-101




Mechanical stress and parathyroid hormone (PTH) are major stimulators, and aging and glucocorticoids excess are important suppressors of osteoblast differentiation. Mechanical stress and PTH stimulate interleukin (IL)-11 expression in cells of osteoblast lineage by enhancing transcription of IL-11 gene via an increase in intracellular Ca2+. The elevated Ca2+ activates extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) to enhance phosphorylation of cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (CREB), which binds to the fosB gene promoter and enhances ΔFosB expression. ΔFosB dimerizes with JunD on the IL-11 gene promoter to enhance its transcription. Both mechanical stress and PTH also stimulate phosphorylation of Smad1 via an activation of protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ). Phosphorylated Smad1 binds to the IL-11 gene promoter and forms complex with ΔFosB/JunD to further enhance IL-11 gene transcription. The increased IL-11 then suppresses expression of Wnt inhibitors, including Dickkopf 1 (Dkk1) and 2, and enhances Wnt signaling to stimulate osteoblast differentiation and inhibit adipocyte differentiation. The suppression of osteoblast differentiation by aging involves a decrease in IL-11 gene transcription by a reduction in JunD binding to the activator protein (AP)-1 site of the IL-11 gene promoter. Glucocorticoids inhibit transcriptional activation of IL-11 gene by an interaction of glucocorticoid-glucocorticoid receptor (GR) complex with ΔFosB/JunD heterodimer. Thus, factors that enhance osteoblast differentiation stimulate, and those which suppress osteoblast differentiation inhibit IL-11 gene transcription, and IL-11 enhances Wnt signaling by suppressing expression of its inhibitors. These observations are consistent with the notion that IL-11 mediates stimulatory and inhibitory signals of osteoblast differentiation by affecting Wnt signaling.

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