The mechanotransduction of MLO-Y4 cells is disrupted by the senescence-associated secretory phenotype of neighboring cells

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Journal of cellular physiology


Age-related bone loss is attributed to the accumulation of senescent cells and their increasing production of inflammatory cytokines as part of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). In otherwise healthy individuals, osteocytes play a key role in maintaining bone mass through their primary function of responding to skeletal loading. Given that osteocytes' response to loading is known to steadily decline with age, we hypothesized that the increasing presence of senescent cells and their SASP inhibit osteocytes' response to loading. To test this hypothesis, we developed two in vitro models of senescent osteocytes and osteoblasts derived from MLO-Y4 and MC3T3 cell lines, respectively. The senescent phenotype was unique to each cell type based on distinct changes in cell cycle inhibitors and SASP profile. The SASP profile of senescent osteocytes was in part dependent on nuclear factor-κB signaling and presents a new potential mechanism to target the SASP in bone. Nonsenescent MLO-Y4 cells cultured with the SASP of each senescent cell type failed to exhibit changes in gene expression as well as ERK phosphorylation and prostaglandin E2 release. The SASP of senescent osteocytes had the largest effect and neutralizing interleukin-6 (IL-6) as part of the SASP restored osteocytes' response to loading. The loss in mechanotransduction due to IL-6 was attributed to a decrease in P2X7 expression and overall sensitivity to purinergic signaling. Altogether, these findings demonstrate that the SASP of senescent cells have a negative effect on the mechanotransduction of osteocytes and that IL-6 is a key SASP component that contributes to the loss in mechanotransduction.

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ePub ahead of print