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Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) is a novel oncogene that can specifically trimethylate the histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3) to transcriptionally inhibit the expression of downstream tumor-suppressing genes. As a small molecular inhibitor of EZH2, 3-Deazaneplanocin (DZNep) has been widely studied due to the role of tumor suppression. With the roles of epigenetic regulation of bone cells emerged in past decades, the property and molecular mechanism of DZNep on enhancing osteogenesis had been reported and attracted a great deal of attention recently. This study aims to elucidate the role of DZNep on EZH2-H3K27me3 axis and downstream factors during both osteoclasts and osteoblasts formation and the therapeutic possibility of DZNep on bone defect healing.


Bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs) cells were cultured, and their responsiveness to DZNep was evaluated by cell counting kit-8, TRAP staining assay, bone resorption assay, podosome actin belt. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSC) were cultured and their responsiveness to DZNep was evaluated by cell counting kit-8, ALP and AR staining assay. The expression of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), Wnt signaling pathway was determined by qPCR and western blotting. Mouse bone defect models were created, rescued by DZNep injection, and the effectiveness was evaluated by X-ray and micro-CT and histological staining.


Consistent with the previous study that DZNep enhances osteogenesis via Wnt family member 1(Wnt1), Wnt6, and Wnt10a, our results showed that DZNep also promotes osteoblasts differentiation and mineralization through the EZH2-H3K27me3-Wnt4 axis. Furthermore, we identified that DZNep promoted the receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclast formation via facilitating the phosphorylation of IKKα/β, IκB, and subsequently NF-κB nuclear translocation, which credit to the EZH2-H3K27me3-Foxc1 axis. More importantly, the enhanced osteogenesis and osteoclastogenesis result in accelerated mice bone defect healing in vivo.


DZNep targeting EZH2-H3K27me3 axis facilitated the healing of mice bone defect via simultaneously enhancing osteoclastic bone resorption and promoting osteoblastic bone formation.

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