Microarray analysis of changes in bone cell gene expression early after cadmium gavage in mice

Akhila Regunathan, David A. Glesne, Allison K. Wilson, Jongwoo Song, Dan Nicolae, Tony Flores, Maryka H. Bhattacharyya

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63 Scopus citations


We developed an in vivo model for cadmium-induced bone loss in which mice excrete bone mineral in feces beginning 8 h after cadmium gavage. Female mice of three strains [CF1, MTN (metallothionein-wild-type), and MT1,2KO (MT1,2-deficient)] were placed on a low-calcium diet for 2 weeks. Each mouse was gavaged with 200 μg Cd or vehicle only. Fecal calcium was monitored daily for 9 days, beginning 4 days before cadmium gavage, to document the bone response. For CF1 mice, bones were taken from four groups: +/- Cd, 2 h after Cd and +/- Cd, 4 h after Cd. MTN and MT1,2KO strains had two groups each: +/-Cd, 4 h after Cd. PolyA+ RNA preparations from marrow-free shafts of femura and tibiae of each +/- Cd pair were submitted to Incyte Genomics for microarray analysis. Fecal Ca results showed that bone calcium excreted after cadmium differed for the three mouse strains: CF1, 0.24 ± 0.08 mg; MTN, 0.92 ± 0.22 mg; and MT1,2KO, 1.7 ± 0.4 mg. Gene array results showed that nearly all arrayed genes were unaffected by cadmium. However, MT1 and MT2 had Cd+/Cd- expression ratios >1 in all four groups, while all ratios for MT3 were essentially 1, showing specificity. Both probes for MAPK 14 (p38 MAPK) had expression ratios >1, while no other MAPK responded to cadmium. Vacuolar proton pump ATPase and integrin alpha v (osteoclast genes), transferrin receptor, and src-like adaptor protein genes were stimulated by Cd; other src-related genes were unaffected. Genes for bone formation, stress response, growth factors, and signaling molecules showed little or no response to cadmium. Results support the hypothesis that Cd stimulates bone demineralization via a p38 MAPK pathway involving osteoclast activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-293
Number of pages22
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIEHS Grant ES04816.


  • Bone
  • Cadmium
  • Gene expression microarray
  • Mouse
  • Northern analysis


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