Gene. 2019 Oct 19:144167. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2019.144167. [Epub ahead of print]
Osteoporosis in advanced cholestatic and end-stage liver disease is related to low bone formation. Previous studies have demonstrated the deleterious consequences of lithocholic acid (LCA) and bilirubin on osteoblastic cells. These effects are partially or completely neutralized by ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). We have assessed the differential gene expression of osteoblastic cells under different culture conditions. The experiments were performed in human osteosarcoma cells (Saos-2) cultured with LCA (10 μM), bilirubin (50 μM) or UDCA (10 and 100 μM) at 2 and 24 hours. Expression of 87 genes related to bone metabolism and other signalling pathways were assessed by TaqMan micro fluidic cards. Several genes were up-regulated by LCA, most of them pro-apoptotic (BAX, BCL10, BCL2L13, BCL2L14), but also MGP (matrix Gla protein), BGLAP (osteocalcin), SPP1 (osteopontin) and CYP24A1, and down-regulated bone morphogenic protein genes (BMP3 and BMP4) and DKK1 (Dickkopf-related protein 1). Parallel effects were observed with bilirubin, which up-regulated apoptotic genes and CSF2 (colony-stimulating factor 2) and down-regulated antiapoptotic genes (BCL2 and BCL2L1), BMP3, BMP4 and RUNX2. UDCA 100 μM had specific consequences since differential expression was observed, up-regulating BMP2, BMP4, BMP7, CALCR (calcitonin receptor), SPOCK3 (osteonectin), BGLAP (osteocalcin) and SPP1 (osteopontin), and down-regulating pro-apoptotic genes. Furthermore, most of the differential expression changes induced by both LCA and bilirubin were partially or completely neutralized by UDCA. Conclusion: Our observations reveal novel target genes, whose regulation by retained substances of cholestasis may provide additional insights into the pathogenesis of osteoporosis in cholestatic and end-stage liver diseases.