Research Paper Volume 7, Issue 3 pp 205—216

The p53/miR-17/Smurf1 pathway mediates skeletal deformities in an age-related model via inhibiting the function of mesenchymal stem cells

Wenjia Liu1,2, , Meng Qi1,2, , Anna Konermann3, , Liqiang Zhang1, , Fang Jin4, , Yan Jin1,2, ,

  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Military Stomatology, Center for Tissue Engineering, School of Stomatology, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710032, People's Republic of China
  • 2 Research and Development Center for Tissue Engineering, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710032, People's Republic of China
  • 3 Department of Orthodontics, Medical Faculty, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
  • 4 State Key Laboratory of Military Stomatology, Department of Orthodontic, School of Stomatology, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710032, People's Republic of China
* Equal contribution

Received: December 21, 2014       Accepted: March 5, 2015       Published: March 7, 2015
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2015 Liu et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Osteoporosis is an age-related progressive bone disease. Trp53 (p53) is not only a famous senescence marker but also a transcription regulator which played a critical role in osteogenesis. However, how p53 contributes to the bone mass loss in age-related osteoporosis is still unclear. Here, we found that bone mass and osteogenic differentiation capacity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is significantly reduced with advancing age. Serum levels of TNF-α and INF-γ and senescence-associated ß-galactosidase, p16, p21 and p53 are significantly increased in elder mice, but antipodally, osteogenic marker expression of Runx2, ALP and osterix are reduced. Overexpression p53 by lentivirus inhibits osteogenesis in young MSCs in culture and upon implantation in NOD/SCID mice through inhibiting the transcription of miR-17-92 cluster, which is decreased in old mice. In addition, miR-17 mimics could partially rescue the osteogenesis of old MSCs both in vitro an in vivo. More importantly, Smurf1 as a direct target gene of miR-17, plays an important role in the p53/miR-17 cascade acting on osteogenesis. Our findings reveal that p53 inhibits osteogenesis via affecting the function of MSCs through miRNA signaling pathways and provide a new potential target for treatment in future.


ALP: Alkaline phosphatase; BCA: Bicinchoninic acid; BMMSCs: Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells; BMD: Bone mineral density; BMP: Bone morphogenetic protein; CFU-F/-Ob: Colony forming unit-fibroblast/-osteoblast; EDTA: Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid; FBS: Fetal bovine serum; GAPDH: Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; HE: Hematoxylin and eosin; HA/TCP: Hydroxyapatite/tricalcium phosphate; IFN-γ: Interferon gamma; MSC: Mesenchymal stem cell; miRNA: MicroRNA; α-MEM: Minimum Essential Medium α; PDLSC: Periodontal ligament stem cell; PBS: Phosphate buffered saline; PVDF: Polyvinylidene difluoride; Runx2: Runt-related transcription factor 2; Smurf1: Smad ubiquitin regulatory factor one; siRNA: Small interfering RNA; BV/TV: Trabecular bone volume fraction relative to tissue volume; TCF3: Transcription factor 3; MiRNA: microRNA; MTT: 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide; TNF-α: Tumor necrosis factor alpha.

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