Hypervitaminosis A, alcoholism or medical treatment for acute promyelocytic leukaemia may cause unphysiologically high accumulation of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA), which could inhibit osteoblastogenesis, thereby triggering osteoporosis. We have shown that bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) can only partially antagonize the inhibitive effects of ATRA. In this study, we hypothesized that antagonists of retinoic acid receptors (RARs) could further antagonize the inhibitive effect of ATRA and rescue BMP2-induced osteoblastogenesis.
We first screened the dose-dependent effects of the specific antagonists of RAR α, β and γ and transforming growth factor-beta receptor (ER-50891, LE-135, MM11253, and SB-43142, respectively) on ATRA-induced inhibition of the total cell metabolic activity and proliferation of preosteoblasts. We selected ER-50891 and tested its effects on osteoblastogenesis with the presence or absence of 1 μM ATRA and/or 200 ng/mL BMP-2. We measured the following parameters: Alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP), osteocalcin (OCN) expression and extracellular matrix mineralization as well as the level of phosphorylated Smad1/5.
ER-50891 but not LE-135, MM11253, or SB-431542 significantly antagonized the inhibition of ATRA and enhanced the total cell metabolic activity and proliferation of preosteoblasts. Dose-dependent assays show ER-50891 could also rescue ATRA inhibited OCN expression and mineralization with or without the induction of BMP. ER-50891 also suppressed the ALP activity that was synergistically enhanced by BMP and ATRA. Neither ATRA, nor ER-50891 or their combination significantly affected the level of BMP-induced phosphorylated Smad1/5.