Osteoporosis is a complex disease with various causes, such as estrogen loss, genetics, and aging. Here we show that a dominant-negative form of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) protein, ALDH2*2, which is produced by a single nucleotide polymorphism (rs671), promotes osteoporosis due to impaired osteoblastogenesis. Aldh2 plays a role in alcohol-detoxification by acetaldehyde-detoxification; however, transgenic mice expressing Aldh2*2 (Aldh2*2 Tg) exhibited severe osteoporosis with increased levels of blood acetaldehyde without alcohol consumption, indicating that Aldh2 regulates physiological bone homeostasis. Wild-type osteoblast differentiation was severely inhibited by exogenous acetaldehyde, and osteoblastic markers such as osteocalcin, runx2, and osterix expression, or phosphorylation of Smad1,5,8 induced by bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) was strongly altered by acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde treatment also inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in osteoblasts. The Aldh2*2 transgene or acetaldehyde treatment induced accumulation of the lipid-oxidant 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4HNE) and expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), a transcription factor that promotes adipogenesis and inhibits osteoblastogenesis. Antioxidant treatment inhibited acetaldehyde-induced proliferation-loss, apoptosis, and PPARγ expression and restored osteoblastogenesis inhibited by acetaldehyde. Treatment with a PPARγ inhibitor also restored acetaldehyde-mediated osteoblastogenesis inhibition. These results provide new insight into regulation of osteoporosis in a subset of individuals with ALDH2*2 and in alcoholic patients and suggest a novel strategy to promote bone formation in such osteopenic diseases.
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