Parathyroid hormone-dependent signaling pathways regulating genes in bone cells

John T. Swarthout, Richard C. D'Alonzo, Nagarajan Selvamurugan, Nicola C. Partridge

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is an 84-amino-acid polypeptide hormone functioning as a major mediator of bone remodeling and as an essential regulator of calcium homeostasis. PTH and PTH-related protein (PTHrP) indirectly activate osteoclasts resulting in increased bone resorption. During this process, PTH changes the phenotype of the osteoblast from a cell involved in bone formation to one directing bone resorption. In addition to these catabolic effects, PTH has been demonstrated to be an anabolic factor in skeletal tissue and in vitro. As a result, PTH has potential medical application to the treatment of osteoporosis, since intermittent administration of PTH stimulates bone formation. Activation of osteoblasts by PTH results in expression of genes important for the degradation of the extracellular matrix, production of growth factors, and stimulation and recruitment of osteoclasts. The ability of PTH to drive changes in gene expression is dependent upon activation of transcription factors such as the activator protein-1 family, RUNX2, and cAMP response element binding protein (CREB). Much of the regulation of these processes by PTH is protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent. However, while PKA is linked to many of the changes in gene expression directed by PTH, PKA activation has been shown to inhibit mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and proliferation of osteoblasts. It is now known that stimulation of MAPK and proliferation by PTH at low concentrations is protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent in both osteoblastic and kidney cells. Furthermore, PTH has been demonstrated to regulate components of the cell cycle. However, whether this regulation requires PKC and/or extracellular signal-regulated kinases or whether PTH is able to stimulate other components of the cell cycle is unknown. It is possible that stimulation of this signaling pathway by PTH mediates a unique pattern of gene expression resulting in proliferation in osteoblastic and kidney cells; however, specific examples of this are still unknown. This review will focus on what is known about PTH-mediated cell signaling, and discuss the established or putative PTH-regulated pattern of gene expression in osteoblastic cells following treatment with catabolic (high) or anabolic (low) concentrations of the hormone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 9 2002


  • G protein
  • G protein coupled receptor
  • Gene expression
  • Osteoblast
  • Protein kinase A
  • Protein kinase C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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