Loss of insulin receptor in osteoprogenitor cells impairs structural strength of bone

Kathryn Thrailkill, R. Clay Bunn, Charles Lumpkin, Elizabeth Wahl, Gael Cockrell, Lindsey Morris, C. Ronald Kahn, John Fowlkes, Jeffry S. Nyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) is associated with decreased bone mineral density, a deficit in bone structure, and subsequently an increased risk of fragility fracture. These clinical observations, paralleled by animal models of T1D, suggest that the insulinopenia of T1D has a deleterious effect on bone. To further examine the action of insulin signaling on bone development, we generated mice with an osteoprogenitor-selective (osterix-Cre) ablation of the insulin receptor (IR), designated OIRKO. OIRKO mice exhibited an 80% decrease in IR in osteoblasts. Prenatal elimination of IR did not affect fetal survival or gross morphology. However, loss of IR in mouse osteoblasts resulted in a postnatal growth-constricted phenotype. By 10-12 weeks of age, femurs of OIRKO mice were more slender, with a thinner diaphyseal cortex and, consequently, a decrease in whole bone strength when subjected to bending. In male mice alone, decreased metaphyseal trabecular bone, with thinner and more rodlike trabeculae, was also observed. OIRKO mice did not, however, exhibit abnormal glucose tolerance. The skeletal phenotype of the OIRKO mouse appeared more severe than that of previously reported bone-specific IR knockdown models, and confirms that insulin receptor expression in osteoblasts is critically important for proper bone development and maintenance of structural integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number703589
JournalJournal of Diabetes Research
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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