Osteoclast Response to Low Extracellular Sodium and the Mechanism of Hyponatremia-induced Bone Loss


Julia Barsony, Yoshihisa Sugimura, and Joseph G. Verbalis


Our recent animal and human studies revealed that chronic hyponatremia is a previously unrecognized cause of osteoporosis that is associated with increased osteoclast numbers in a rat model of the human disease of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH). We used cellular and molecular approaches to demonstrate that sustained low extracellular sodium ion concentrations ([Na+]) directly stimulate osteoclastogenesis and resorptive activity and to explore the mechanisms underlying this effect. Assays on murine preosteoclastic RAW 264.7 cells and on primary bone marrow monocytes both indicated that lowering the medium [Na+] dose-dependently increased osteoclast formation and resorptive activity. Low [Na+], rather than low osmolality, triggered these effects. Chronic reduction of [Na+] dose-dependently decreased intracellular calcium without depleting endoplasmic reticulum calcium stores. Moreover, we found that reduction of [Na+] dose-dependently decreased cellular uptake of radiolabeled ascorbic acid, and reduction of ascorbic acid in the culture medium mimicked the osteoclastogenic effect of low [Na+]. We also detected downstream effects of reduced ascorbic acid uptake, namely evidence of hyponatremia-induced oxidative stress. This was manifested by increased intracellular free oxygen radical accumulation and proportional changes in protein expression and phosphorylation, as indicated by Western blot analysis from cellular extracts and by increased serum 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine levels in vivo in rats. Our results therefore reveal novel sodium signaling mechanisms in osteoclasts that may serve to mobilize sodium from bone stores during prolonged hyponatremia, thereby leading to a resorptive osteoporosis in patients with SIADH.

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