Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Thiazolidinediones Inhibit Mouse Osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 Cell Proliferation in Part Through the Wnt Signaling Pathway
  1. Miao Duan, MD*†,
  2. Bowen Zhou, MD*‡,
  3. Xinrong Zhou, MD, PhD*,
  4. Gang Yuan, MD, PhD*
  1. From the *Department of Internal Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology; †Department of Endocrinology, Wuhan No. 1 Hospital; and ‡Department of Endocrinology, Wuhan No. 6 Hospital, Wuhan, China.
  1. Received September 25, 2014, and in revised form February 2, 2015.
  2. Accepted for publication February 6, 2015.
  3. Reprints: Gang Yuan, MD, PhD, Department of Internal Medicine, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, No. 1095 Jiefang Ave, Wuhan, China. E-mail: yuangang88{at}
  4. This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81370941, to G.Y.).
  5. G.Y. and X.Z. contributed to experimental design and execution, data analysis, and manuscript writing. M.D. contributed to experimental execution; B.Z. contributed to data analysis. M.D. and G.Y. contributed to the overall research design, data analysis and interpretation, and manuscript writing. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
  6. The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


Background Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) and Wnt play different roles in bone homeostasis. Thiazolidinediones are PPARγ agonists that cause bone mineral density loss. This study investigated the relationship between PPARγ and Wnt/β-catenin signaling in mouse osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells.

Methods MC3T3-E1 cells were treated with either pioglitazone (Pio) or rosiglitazone (Rosi), thiazolidinediones, for 24 hours at 10 to 40-μM concentrations. Recombinant mouse Wnt3a protein (50 ng/mL) for 6 hours was also used to treat the 20-μM Pio and Rosi pretreated cells. Cell proliferation was measured by MTT, and apoptosis with flow cytometry using annexin V/propidium iodide staining; reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction measured mRNA expression levels of LRP5/6 (low-density lipoprotein–related protein 5/6), glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), TCF7L2 (transcription factor 7–like 2), PPARγ, and cyclin D1, and Western blots detected β-catenin and p-GSK3β proteins.

Results Pioglitazone and Rosi decreased MC3T3-E1 cell viability by 28.07% and 18.14% at 20 μM, respectively (P < 0.05). Apoptosis increased compared with controls (7.21%), after 20-μM treatment with Pio or Rosi, to 10.45% and 12.10%, respectively (P < 0.05). Both Pio and Rosi decreased β-catenin protein levels and increased p-GSK3β, but the LRP5/6, GSK3β, and TCF7L2 mRNA levels were constant. Upon activation of the Wnt pathway by mouse Wnt3a protein, β-catenin and p-GSK3β protein levels were reversed, accompanied with increased proliferation, but apoptosis remained high.

Conclusions Activation of PPARγ in osteoblasts accompanied Wnt signaling suppression. Activation of Wnt signaling alleviated the PPARγ proliferation decreases but not the apoptosis increases. The thiazolidinedione PPARγ agonists act in part through inhibition of the Wnt signaling pathway, showing there is a relationship between PPARγ and Wnt signaling.

Key Words
  • PPARγ
  • Wnt signaling
  • osteoblasts
  • cell proliferation

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.