Weiwei Sun, Yu Shi, Wen-Chih Lee, Seung-Yon Lee, Fanxin Long
Wnt signaling has emerged as a major target pathway for the development of novel bone anabolic therapies. Neutralizing antibodies against the secreted Wnt antagonist sclerostin (Scl-Ab) increase bone mass in both animal models and humans. Because we have previously shown that Rictor-dependent mTORC2 activity contributes to Wnt signaling, we test here whether Rictor is required for Scl-Ab to promote bone anabolism. Mice with Rictor deleted in the early embryonic limb mesenchyme (Prx1-Cre;Rictorf/f, hereafter RiCKO) were subjected to Scl-Ab treatment for 5 weeks starting at 4 months of age. In vivo micro–computed tomography (μCT) analyses before the treatment showed that the RiCKO mice displayed normal trabecular, but less cortical bone mass than the littermate controls. After 5 weeks of treatment, Scl-Ab dose-dependently increased trabecular and cortical bone mass in both control and RiCKO mice, but the increase was significantly blunted in the latter. Dynamic histomorphometry revealed that the RiCKO mice formed less bone than the control in response to Scl-Ab. In addition, the RiCKO mice possessed fewer osteoclasts than normal under the basal condition and exhibited lesser suppression in osteoclast number by Scl-Ab. Consistent with the fewer osteoclasts in vivo, bone marrow stromal cells (BMSC) from the RiCKO mice expressed less Rankl but normal levels of Opg or M-CSF, and were less effective than the control cells in supporting osteoclastogenesis in vitro. The reliance of Rankl on Rictor appeared to be independent of Wnt-β-catenin or Wnt-mTORC2 signaling as Wnt3a had no effect on Rankl expression by BMSC from either control or RICKO mice. Overall, Rictor in the limb mesenchymal lineage is required for the normal response to the anti-sclerostin therapy in both bone formation and resorption.