In the bone marrow cavity, adipocyte numbers increase, whereas osteoblast progenitor numbers decrease with aging. Because adipocytes and osteoblasts share a common progenitor, it is possible that this shift is due to an increase in adipocyte-lineage cells at the expense of osteoblast-lineage commitment. Estrogens inhibit adipocyte differentiation, and in bothmenand women, circulating estrogens correlate with bone loss with aging. In bone cells, estrogens stimulate expression of TGF-β and suppress mesenchymal cell adipogenesis. Using a tripotential mesenchymal cell line, we have examined whether estradiol suppression of adipocyte differentiation is due to stimulation of TGF-β and the mechanism by which TGF-β suppresses adipogenesis. We observed that estradiolmediated suppression of adipogenic gene expression required at least 48 h treatment. TGF-β expression increased within 24 h of estradiol treatment, and TGF-β inhibition reversed estradiol influences on adipogenesis and adipocyte gene expression. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) mediates TGF-β suppression of adipogenesis in mouse 3T3-L1 cells. CTGF expression was induced within 24 h of TGF-β treatment, whereas estradiol-mediated induction required 48 h treatment. Moreover, estradiol-mediated induction of CTGF was abrogated by TGF-β inhibition. These data support that estradiol effects on adipogenesis involves TGF-β induction, which then induces CTGF to suppress adipogenesis.
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