Osteoporosis, osteopenia, and pathological bone fractures are frequent complications of iron-overload conditions such as hereditary hemochromatosis, thalassemia, and sickle cell disease. Moreover, animal models of iron overload have revealed increased bone resorption and decreased bone formation. Although systemic iron overload affects multiple organs and tissues, leading to significant changes on bone modeling and remodeling, the cell autonomous effects of excessive iron on bone cells remain unknown. Here, to elucidate the role of cellular iron homeostasis in osteoclasts, we generated two mouse strains in which solute carrier family 40 member 1 (Slc40a1), a gene encoding ferroportin (FPN),the sole iron exporter in mammalian cells, was specifically deleted in myeloid osteoclast precursors or mature cells. The FPN deletion mildly increased iron levels in both precursor and mature osteoclasts, and its loss in precursors, but not in mature cells, increased osteoclastogenesis and decreased bone mass in vivo. Of note, these phenotypes were more pronounced in female than in male mice. In vitro studies revealed that the elevated intracellular iron promoted macrophage proliferation and amplified expression of nuclear factor of activated T cells 1 (Nfatc1) and PPARG coactivator 1 (Pgc-1), two transcription factors critical for osteoclast differentiation. However, the iron excess did not affect osteoclast survival. While increased iron stimulated global mitochondrial metabolism in osteoclast precursors, it had little influence on mitochondrial mass and reactive oxygen species production. These results indicate that FPN-regulated intracellular iron levels are critical for mitochondrial metabolism, osteoclastogenesis, and skeletal homeostasis in mice.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology