Bone Wnt signalling has been presented as one of the key pathways through which bone responds to mechanical load. This pathway is also active during the healing process after bone trauma. Bone healing can be improved by pharmacological modulation of Wnt signalling. We investigated how the expression of several Wntrelated genes changed due to trauma and unloading in metaphyseal bone.
20 male rats had one hind limb unloaded by intramuscular Botox injections. In half of the animals a hole was drilled bilaterally in the proximal tibia. After 7 days, a cylindrical biopsy was taken from the bone surrounding the hole and at a corresponding site in animals without trauma. The biopsies were analyzed for the mRNA expression of Wnt1, Wnt3a, Wnt4, Wnt5a, Wnt5b, Sost, Dkk1, Dkk2, Sfrp1, Sfrp4, Lrp5, Lrp6, Wisp1, Wif1 and Wnt10b.
Trauma led to upregulation of most of the studied genes. This effect was most evident in unloaded bone, where 8 genes were upregulated, among them Wnt receptors, ligands and inhibitors. Unloading increased the expression of Sost in untraumatized bone, but did not significantly influence the other genes.