Extracellular matrix proteoglycans control the fate of bone marrow stromal cells

Yanming Bi, Christina H. Stuelten, Tina Kilts, Sunil Wadhwa, Renato V. Iozzo, Pamela G. Robey, Xiao Dong Chen, Marian F. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


Extracellular matrix glycoproteins and proteoglycans bind a variety of growth factors and cytokines thereby regulating matrix assembly as well as bone formation. However, little is known about the mechanisms by which extracellular matrix molecules modulate osteogenic stem cells and bone formation. Using mice deficient in two members of the small leucine-rich proteoglycans, biglycan and decorin, we uncovered a role for these two extracellular matrix proteoglycans in modulating bone formation from bone marrow stromal cells. Our studies showed that the absence of the critical transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-binding proteoglycans, biglycan and decorin, prevents TGF-β from proper sequestration within the extracellular matrix. The excess TGF-β directly binds to its receptors on bone marrow stromal cells and overactivates its signaling transduction pathway. Overall, the predominant effect of the increased TGF-β signaling in bgn/dcn-deficient bone marrow stromal cells is a "switch in fate" from growth to apoptosis, leading to decreased numbers of osteoprogenitor cells and subsequently reduced bone formation. Thus, biglycan and decorin appear to be essential for maintaining an appropriate number of mature osteoblasts by modulating the proliferation and survival of bone marrow stromal cells. These findings underscore the importance of the micro-environment in controlling the fate of adult stem cells and reveal a novel cellular and molecular basis for the physiological and pathological control of bone mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30481-30489
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 26 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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