The Role of Tumor Necrosis Factor α in Down-Regulation of Osteoblast Phex Gene Expression in Experimental Murine Colitis

Jennifer K. Uno, Olga I. Kolek, Eric R. Hines, Hua Xu, Barbara N. Timmermann, Pawel R. Kiela, Fayez K. Ghishan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background & Aims: Reduced bone mass is a common complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), although the mechanisms that contribute to osteopenia are not completely understood. Tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) is up-regulated in patients with IBD and has detrimental effects on osteoblasts. Phex gene is expressed predominantly in osteoblasts, and its disruption results in defective bone mineralization. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether TNF-α regulates Phex gene expression thus contributing to the abnormal bone metabolism observed in IBD. Methods: Phex gene expression was evaluated in calvaria of 6-7-week-old mice administered with trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS) with or without neutralizing anti-TNF-α antibody, dietary curcumin, or systemically with recombinant TNF-α. TNF-α-treated UMR-106 osteoblasts were also examined. Phex promoter activity was assayed in transiently transfected TNF-α-treated UMR-106 cells. Results: Compared with control animals, Phex messenger RNA (mRNA) expression decreased by 40%-50% in both TNBS colitis and TNF-α-injected mice. Dietary curcumin and anti-TNF-α antibody counteracted the detrimental effect of TNBS on Phex gene expression. TNF-α-treated UMR-106 cells showed a concentration-dependent and transcriptionally mediated decrease in Phex mRNA and gene promoter activity, with the -133 to -74 bp region of the Phex promoter likely involved in the mechanism of TNF-α action. Coinciding with decreased Phex protein level, TNF-α drastically reduced mineralization in UMR-106 osteoblasts. Conclusions: Acute colitis and TNF-α decrease Phex mRNA and protein expression via a transcriptional mechanism. TNF-α-mediated reduction in Phex protein is at least in part responsible for inhibition of osteoblast mineralization, and the described mechanism may contribute to the abnormal bone metabolism associated with IBD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-509
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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