Jeradi, S., Hammerschmidt, M. (2016) Retinoic acid-induced premature osteoblast-to-preosteocyte transitioning has multiple effects on calvarial development. Development (Cambridge, England). 143(7):1205-16.
We have previously shown that human and zebrafish hypomorphs in the retinoic acid (RA)-metabolizing enzyme Cyp26b1 display coronal craniosynostosis, caused by an RA-induced premature transitioning of suture osteoblasts to preosteocytes inducing ectopic mineralization of the suture's osteoid matrix. In addition, we showed that human CYP26B1 null patients have more severe and seemingly opposite skull defects, characterized by smaller and fragmented calvaria, while the cellular basis of these defects remained largely unclear. Here, treating juvenile zebrafish with exogenous RA or a chemical Cyp26 inhibitor in the presence or absence of osteogenic cells or bone-resorbing osteoclasts, we demonstrate that both reduced calvarial size and calvarial fragmentation are also caused by RA-induced premature osteoblast-to-preosteocyte transitioning. During calvarial growth, the resulting osteoblast deprival leads to decreased osteoid production and thereby smaller and thinner calvaria, while calvarial fragmentation is caused by increased osteoclast stimulation through the gained preosteocytes. Together, our data demonstrate that RA-induced osteoblast-to-preosteocyte transitioning has multiple effects on developing bone in Cyp26b1 mutants, ranging from gain to loss of bone, and depending on the allelic strength, the developmental stage and the cellular context.