Dissection of the sets of genes that control the behavior of biglycan-deficient pre-osteoblasts using oligonucleotide microarrays

Xiao Dong Chen, Xiaopeng Bian, Tanya M. Teslovich, Dietrich A. Stephan, Marian F. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Biglycan (bgn) is a small leucine-rich proteoglycan (SLPR) that is enriched in the extracellular matrix of skeletal tissues. Bgn-deficient mice develop age-related osteopenia with a phenotype that resembles osteoporosis. In order to identify sets of genes that play a key role in the skeletal abnormality, we determined the global gene expression patterns in bgn-deficient (bgn-KO) pre-osteoblasts using oligonucleotide microarray technology. Calvarial cells were harvested from newborn mice and cultured in the presence or absence of BMP-4 for 7 days. The total RNA was purified, labeled and hybridized to Affymetrix™ chips (U74A), and analyzed with a software program called GeneSpring™. Our data suggested that biglycan regulates the activity of osteoblastic progenitors through sets of genes associated with cell cycle, cell growth, and differentiation. The biological outcome from the altered expression of these genes could cause a defect in the quantity and quality of osteoblastic progenitors, which could contribute to the development of age-related osteopenia in bgn-KO mice. Moreover, the data from this approach also revealed that biglycan deficiency affected the genes that control inflammation, immune response, and growth of tumor cells. These are new and unexpected findings that lead to the formation of new paradigms for biglycan function. Based on these findings, we propose that the reduction of this small proteoglycan with aging may increase the risk of infection and autoimmune diseases, impair wound healing, and cause higher incidences of malignancy. This study provides a broad and deep foundation for understanding SLRP function at a more complex level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-203
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • BMP-4
  • Biglycan
  • Differentiation
  • Gene expression patterns
  • Osteoblast progenitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Physiology


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