Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) targets osteoblastic cells (OBs) in the bone marrow microenvironment and expands hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) through Notch activation. Since PTH stimulates the Notch ligand Jagged1 (J1) in OBs, we have focused on the signaling pathways involved in this PTH effect in order to identify novel activators of the HSC niche. Osteoblastic Protein Kinase A (PKA) activation is required for the PTH-dependent J1 increase in OBs. Therefore, we hypothesized that alternative PKA activators could also regulate osteoblastic J1, alter the HSC niche, and provide additional pharmacologic tools to expand HSC in vivo. Consistent with this hypothesis, direct PKA agonists 8-bromo-cAMP and dibutyryl-cAMP stimulated J1 in osteoblastic UMR106 cells. In addition, PGE2, a member of the prostaglandin family known to stimulate PKA in OBs, was studied in vivo and in vitro. By real-time RT-PCR analysis, J1 mRNA was increased up to 5 fold at 2 hours in UMR106 cells when treated with PGE2 (10−7 M) compared to vehicle. J1 protein was also increased after treatment with PGE2. The PGE2-dependent J1 increase was blocked in the presence of the specific PKA inhibitors H89 and myristoylated PKA Inhibitory Peptide (14–22)(PKI) (200ug/ml), demonstrating that PKA is necessary for osteoblastic J1 stimulation by PGE2. Since systemic PGE2 is known to have bone anabolic effects in both humans and animal models, adult wild-type FVB/N male mice were treated with PGE2 (6mg/kg/day i.p.) for 12 days. This regimen has previously been shown to have bone anabolic effects in rats. At day 12, histologic analysis demonstrated an anabolic effect mainly on cortical bone, as was evident in the femurs and tibiae of PGE2-treated mice compared to control. This histologic finding was confirmed by histomorphometry (trabecular bone area means 41% vs 12%,p=0.0916, n=3 in both groups; cortical thickness means 138 vs 85 μm, p=0.0071, n=3 in both groups). Frequency of hematopoietic stem cells (c-Kit+, Sca1+, lin−) was increased in bone marrow from PGE2-treated vs control mice by over 20% (p=0.0018, n=8 in both groups). In summary, PGE2 stimulates J1 in osteoblastic cells through PKA activation and increases mainly cortical bone in vivo. Ongoing studies will confirm whether in vivo PGE2 treatment expands HSC, and whether osteoblastic J1 regulates this process. This study identifies PGE2 as a novel regulator of osteoblastic J1, and as a potential new microenvironmental modulator of HSC, which could be used for in vivo therapeutic HSC niche manipulation.

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