Impact of pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A deletion on the adult murine skeleton

Sharon J. Tanner, Theresa E. Hefferan, Clifford J. Rosen, Cheryl A. Conover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Introduction: The metalloproteinase, pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) functions to enhance local insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I bioavailability through cleavage of inhibitory IGF binding proteins. Because IGF-I is an important regulator of skeletal growth and remodeling and PAPP-A is highly expressed by osteoblastic cells, we hypothesized that, in the absence of PAPP-A, bone physiology would be compromised because of a blunting of local IGF-I action even in the presence of normal circulating IGF-I levels. Materials and Methods: pQCT, μCT, histomorphometry, and mechanical strength testing were performed on bones from PAPP-A knockout (KO) mice and wildtype (WT) littermates at 2-12 mo of age. IGF-I levels and bone formation and resorption markers were determined in sera from these animals. Results: Volumetric BMD in PAPP-A KO mice measured by pQCT at the femoral midshaft, which is primarily cortical bone, was 10% less than WT at 2 mo. This difference was maintained at 4, 6, and 12 mo. Cortical thickness at this site was similarly decreased. On the other hand, trabecular bone at the distal femur (pQCT) and in the tibia (μCT) showed age-progressive decreases in bone volume fraction in PAPP-A KO compared with WT mice. Tibial μCT indicated a 46% relative decrease in trabecular bone volume/total volume (BV/TV) and a 28% relative decrease in trabecular thickness in PAPP-A KO compared with WT mice at 6 mo. These trabecular deficiencies in PAPP-A KO mice corresponded to a weakening of the bone. Serum markers and bone histomorphometry indicated that the primary impact of PAPP-A is on skeletal remodeling resulting in a state of low-turnover osteopenia in adult PAPP-A KO mice. Circulating IGF-I levels were not altered in PAPP-A KO mice. Conclusions: PAPP-A is a bone growth regulatory factor in vivo and, in its absence, mice show skeletal insufficiency in mass, density, architecture, and strength. The data suggest a primary role for PAPP-A in modulating local IGF bioavailability for trabecular bone remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-662
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • BMD
  • Insulin-like growth factor
  • Knock-out mouse
  • Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A
  • Skeletal physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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