Deletion of Rptor in Preosteoblasts Reveals a Role for the Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 (mTORC1) Complex in Dietary-Induced Changes to Bone Mass and Glucose Homeostasis in Female Mice

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The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) complex is the major nutrient sensor in mammalian cells that responds to amino acids, energy levels, growth factors, and hormones, such as insulin, to control anabolic and catabolic processes. We have recently shown that suppression of the mTORC1 complex in bone-forming osteoblasts (OBs) improved glucose handling in male mice fed a normal or obesogenic diet. Mechanistically, this occurs, at least in part, by increasing OB insulin sensitivity leading to upregulation of glucose uptake and glycolysis. Given previously reported sex-dependent differences observed upon antagonism of mTORC1 signaling, we investigated the metabolic and skeletal effects of genetic inactivation of preosteoblastic-mTORC1 in female mice. Eight-week-old control diet (CD)-fed Rptorob−/− mice had a low bone mass with a significant reduction in trabecular bone volume and trabecular number, reduced cortical bone thickness, and increased marrow adiposity. Despite no changes in body composition, CD-fed Rptorob−/− mice exhibited significant lower fasting insulin and glucose levels and increased insulin sensitivity. Upon high-fat diet (HFD) feeding, Rptorob−/− mice were resistant to a diet-induced increase in whole-body and total fat mass and protected from the development of diet-induced insulin resistance. Notably, although 12 weeks of HFD increased marrow adiposity, with minimal changes in both trabecular and cortical bone in the female control mice, marrow adiposity was significantly reduced in HFD-fed Rptorob−/− compared to both HFD-fed control and CD-fed Rptorob−/− mice. Collectively, our results demonstrate that mTORC1 function in preosteoblasts is crucial for skeletal development and skeletal regulation of glucose homeostasis in both male and female mice. Importantly, loss of mTORC1 function in OBs results in metabolic and physiological adaptations that mirror a caloric restriction phenotype (under CD) and protects against HFD-induced obesity, associated insulin resistance, and marrow adiposity expansion. These results highlight the critical contribution of the skeleton in the regulation of whole-body energy homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10486
JournalJBMR Plus
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - May 2021


  • mTORC1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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