Conditional Deletion of Murine Fgf23: Interruption of the Normal Skeletal Responses to Phosphate Challenge and Rescue of Genetic Hypophosphatemia


Erica L. Clinkenbeard, Taryn A. Cass, Pu Ni, Julia M. Hum, Teresita Bellido, Matthew R. Allen and Kenneth E. White


The transgenic and knock out (KO) animals involving Fgf23 have been highly informative in defining novel aspects of mineral metabolism, but are limited by shortened life span, inability of spatial/temporal FGF23 control, and infertility of the global KO. To more finely test the role of systemic and genetic influences in FGF23 production, a mouse was developed that carried a floxed (‘f’)-Fgf23 allele (exon 2 floxed) which demonstrated in vivo recombination when bred to global-Cre transgenic mice (eIIa-cre). Mice homozygous for the recombined allele (‘Δ’) had undetectable serum intact FGF23, elevated serum phosphate (p < 0.05), and increased kidney Cyp27b1 mRNA (p < 0.05) similar to global Fgf23-KO mice. To isolate cellular FGF23 responses during phosphate challenge Fgf23Δ/f mice were mated with early osteoblast type Iα1 collagen 2.3kb promoter-cre mice (Col2.3-cre) and the late osteoblast/early osteocyte Dentin matrix protein-1-cre (Dmp1-cre). Fgf23Δ/f/Col2.3-cre+ and Fgf23Δ/f/Dmp1-cre+ exhibited reduced baseline serum intact FGF23 versus controls. After challenge with high phosphate diet Cre- mice had 2.1-2.5 fold increased serum FGF23 (p < 0.01), but Col2.3-cre+ mice had no significant increase, and Dmp1-cre+ mice had only a 37% increase (p < 0.01) despite prevailing hyperphosphatemia in both models. The Fgf23Δ/f/Col2.3-cre was bred onto the Hyp (murine XLH model) genetic background to test the contribution of osteoblasts and osteocytes to elevated FGF23 and Hyp disease phenotypes. Whereas Hyp mice maintained inappropriately elevated FGF23 considering their marked hypophosphatemia, Hyp/Fgf23Δ/f/Col2.3-cre+ mice had serum FGF23 <4% of Hyp (p < 0.01), and this targeted restriction normalized serum phosphorus and ricketic bone disease. In summary, deleting FGF23 within early osteoblasts and osteocytes demonstrated that both cell types contribute to baseline circulating FGF23 concentrations, and that targeting osteoblasts/osteocytes for FGF23 production can modify systemic responses to changes in serum phosphate concentrations and rescue the Hyp genetic syndrome.

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