Deletion of NADPH oxidase 2 in chondrocytes exacerbates ethanol-mediated growth plate disruption in mice without major effects on bone architecture or gene expression

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Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research


Background: Excess reactive oxygen species generated by NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2) in response to ethanol exposure mediate aspects of skeletal toxicity including increased osteoclast differentiation and activity. Because perturbation of chondrocyte differentiation in the growth plate by ethanol could be prevented by dietary antioxidants, we hypothesized that Nox2 in the growth plate was involved in ethanol-associated reductions in longitudinal bone growth. Methods: Nox2 conditional knockout mice were generated, where the essential catalytic subunit of Nox2, cytochrome B-245 beta chain (Cybb), is deleted in chondrocytes using a Cre-Lox model with Cre expressed from the collagen 2a1 promoter (Col2a1-Cre). Wild-type and Cre-Lox mice were fed an ethanol Lieber-DeCarli-based diet or pair-fed a control diet for 8 weeks. Results: Ethanol treatment significantly reduced the number of proliferating chondrocytes in the growth plate, enhanced bone marrow adiposity, shortened femurs, reduced body length, reduced cortical bone volume, and decreased mRNA levels of a number of osteoblast and chondrocyte genes. Conditional knockout of Nox2 enzymatic activity in chondrocytes did not consistently prevent any ethanol effects. Rather, knockout mice had fewer proliferating chondrocytes than wild-type mice in both the ethanol- and control-fed animals. Additional analysis of tibia samples from Nox4 knockout mice showed that loss of Nox4 activity also reduced the number of proliferating chondrocytes and altered chondrocyte size in the growth plate. Conclusions: Although Nox enzymatic activity regulates growth plate development, ethanol-associated disruption of the growth plate morphology is independent of ethanol-mediated increases in Nox2 activity.