Keap1 is a negative regulator of Nrf2, a master transcription factor that regulates cytoprotection against oxidative and electrophilic stresses. Although several studies have suggested that the Keap1-Nrf2 system contributes to bone formation besides the maintenance of redox homeostasis, how Nrf2 hyperactivation by Keap1 deficiency affects the bone formation remains to be explored, as the Keap1-null mice are juvenile lethal. To overcome this problem, we used viable Keap1-deficient mice that we have generated by deleting the esophageal Nrf2 in Keap1-null mice (NEKO mice). We found that the NEKO mice exhibit small body size and low bone density. Although nephrogenic diabetes insipidus has been observed in both the NEKO mice and renal-specific Keap1-deficient mice, the skeletal phenotypes are not recapitulated in the renal-specific Keap1-deficient mice, suggesting that the skeletal phenotype by Nrf2 hyperactivation is not related to the renal phenotype. Experiments with primary culture cells derived from Keap1-null mice showed that differentiation of both osteoclasts and osteoblasts was attenuated, showing that impaired differentiation of osteoblasts rather than osteoclasts is responsible for bone hypoplasia caused by Nrf2 hyperactivation. Thus, we propose that the appropriate control of Nrf2 activity by Keap1 is essential for maintaining bone homeostasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology