RSPO3 is important for trabecular bone and fracture risk in mice and humans

Karin H. Nilsson, Petra Henning, Maha El Shahawy, Maria Nethander, Thomas Levin Andersen, Charlotte Ejersted, Jianyao Wu, Karin L. Gustafsson, Antti Koskela, Juha Tuukkanen, Pedro P.C. Souza, Jan Tuckermann, Mattias Lorentzon, Linda Engström Ruud, Terho Lehtimäki, Jon H. Tobias, Sirui Zhou, Ulf H. Lerner, J. Brent Richards, Sofia Movérare-SkrticClaes Ohlsson

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With increasing age of the population, countries across the globe are facing a substantial increase in osteoporotic fractures. Genetic association signals for fractures have been reported at the RSPO3 locus, but the causal gene and the underlying mechanism are unknown. Here we show that the fracture reducing allele at the RSPO3 locus associate with increased RSPO3 expression both at the mRNA and protein levels, increased trabecular bone mineral density and reduced risk mainly of distal forearm fractures in humans. We also demonstrate that RSPO3 is expressed in osteoprogenitor cells and osteoblasts and that osteoblast-derived RSPO3 is the principal source of RSPO3 in bone and an important regulator of vertebral trabecular bone mass and bone strength in adult mice. Mechanistic studies revealed that RSPO3 in a cell-autonomous manner increases osteoblast proliferation and differentiation. In conclusion, RSPO3 regulates vertebral trabecular bone mass and bone strength in mice and fracture risk in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4923
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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