Increased adipogenesis of osteoporotic human-mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is characterized by impaired leptin action
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The bone marrow contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that differentiate to the osteogenic and adipogenic lineages. The fact that the decrease in bone volume of age-related osteoporosis is accompanied by an increase in marrow adipose tissue implies the importance that the adipogenic process may have in bone loss. We previously observed that MSCs from control and osteoporotic women showed differences in their capacity to differentiate into the osteogenic and adipogenic pathways. In vitro studies indicate that bone marrow stromal cells are responsive to leptin, which increases their proliferation, differentiation to osteoblasts, and the number of mineralized nodules, but inhibits their differentiation to adipocytes. The aim of the present report was to study the direct effect of leptin on control and osteoporotic MSCs analyzing whether the protective effect of leptin against osteoporosis could be expressed by inhibition of adipocyte differentiation. MSCs from control, and osteoporotic donors were subjected to adipogenic conditions, in the absence or in the presence of 62.5 nM leptin. The number of adipocytes, the content of PPAR gamma protein, and mRNA, and leptin mRNA were measured by flow cytometry, Western blot, and RT-PCR, respectively. Results indicate that control and osteoporotic MSCs differ in their adipogenic potential as shown by expression of active PPAR gamma protein. Leptin exerted an antiadipogenic effect only on control MSCs increasing the proportion of inactive phosphorylated PPAR gamma protein. Finally, results obtained during adipogenesis of osteoporotic cells suggest that this process is abnormal not only because of increased adipocyte number, but because of impaired leptin cells response.