Research Papers:

Novel Akt activator SC-79 is a potential treatment for alcohol-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head

Yi-Xuan Chen, Shi-Cong Tao, Zheng-Liang Xu, Wen-Jing Yin, Yue-Lei Zhang, Jun-Hui Yin, You-Shui Gao and Chang-Qing Zhang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:31065-31078. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16075

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Yi-Xuan Chen1, Shi-Cong Tao1, Zheng-Liang Xu1, Wen-Jing Yin1, Yue-Lei Zhang1, Jun-Hui Yin2, You-Shui Gao1, Chang-Qing Zhang1,2

1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s Hospital, Shanghai 200233, China

2Institute of Microsurgery on Extremities, Shanghai 200233, China

Correspondence to:

You-Shui Gao, email: [email protected]

Chang-Qing Zhang, email: [email protected]

Keywords: ethanol, Akt pathway, osteonecrosis of the femoral head, BMSC, SC-79

Received: July 16, 2016     Accepted: February 28, 2017     Published: March 10, 2017


Alcohol is a leading risk factor for osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH). We explored the molecular mechanisms underlying alcohol-induced ONFH and investigated the protective effect of the novel Akt activator SC-79 against this disease. We found that ethanol inhibited expression of the osteogenic genes RUNX2 and OCN, downregulated osteogenic differentiation, impaired the recruitment of Akt to the plasma membrane, and suppressed Akt phosphorylation at Ser473, thereby inhibiting the Akt/GSK3β/β-catenin signaling pathway in bone mesenchymal stem cells. To assess SC-79’s ability to counteract the inhibitory effect of ethanol on Akt-Ser73 phosphorylation, we performed micro-computerized tomography and immunofluorescent staining of osteopontin, osteocalcin and collagen type 1 in a rat model of alcohol-induced ONFH. We found that SC-79 injections inhibited alcohol-induced osteonecrosis. These results show that alcohol-induced ONFH is associated with suppression of p-Akt-Ser473 in the Akt/GSK3β/β-catenin signaling pathway in bone mesenchymal stem cells. We propose that SC-79 treatment to rescue Akt activation could be tested in the clinic as a potential therapeutic approach to preventing the development of alcohol-induced ONFH.

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