Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 104, Issue 2, pp 224–234 | Cite as

Inhibition of Osteocyte Membrane Repair Activity via Dietary Vitamin E Deprivation Impairs Osteocyte Survival

  • Mackenzie L. Hagan
  • Anoosh Bahraini
  • Jessica L. Pierce
  • Sarah M. Bass
  • Kanglun Yu
  • Ranya Elsayed
  • Mohammed Elsalanty
  • Maribeth H. Johnson
  • Anna McNeil
  • Paul L. McNeil
  • Meghan E. McGee-LawrenceEmail author
Original Research


Osteocytes experience plasma membrane disruptions (PMD) that initiate mechanotransduction both in vitro and in vivo in response to mechanical loading, suggesting that osteocytes use PMD to sense and adapt to mechanical stimuli. PMD repair is crucial for cell survival; antioxidants (e.g., alpha-tocopherol, also known as Vitamin E) promote repair while reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can accumulate during exercise, inhibit repair. The goal of this study was to determine whether depleting Vitamin E in the diet would impact osteocyte survival and bone adaptation with loading. Male CD-1 mice (3 weeks old) were fed either a regular diet (RD) or Vitamin E-deficient diet (VEDD) for up to 11 weeks. Mice from each dietary group either served as sedentary controls with normal cage activity, or were subjected to treadmill exercise (one bout of exercise or daily exercise for 5 weeks). VEDD-fed mice showed more PMD-affected osteocytes (+ 50%) after a single exercise bout suggesting impaired PMD repair following Vitamin E deprivation. After 5 weeks of daily exercise, VEDD mice failed to show an exercise-induced increase in osteocyte PMD formation, and showed signs of increased osteocytic oxidative stress and impaired osteocyte survival. Surprisingly, exercise-induced increases in cortical bone formation rate were only significant for VEDD-fed mice. This result may be consistent with previous studies in skeletal muscle, where myocyte PMD repair failure (e.g., with muscular dystrophy) initially triggers hypertrophy but later leads to widespread degeneration. In vitro, mechanically wounded MLO-Y4 cells displayed increased post-wounding necrosis (+ 40-fold) in the presence of H2O2, which could be prevented by Vitamin E pre-treatment. Taken together, our data support the idea that antioxidant-influenced osteocyte membrane repair is a vital aspect of bone mechanosensation in the osteocytic control of PMD-driven bone adaptation.


Bone Skeleton Osteocyte Mechanotransduction Vitamin E Alpha-tocopherol Mechanical loading 



Funding was received from the National Science Foundation (CMMI 1727949), the National Institute on Aging (P01 AG036675), and the Augusta University Medical Scholars Program. The authors wish to thank the Augusta University Cell Imaging Core Laboratory for assistance with imaging procedures and the Augusta University Electron Microscopy and Histology Core Laboratory for assistance with histology.

Author Contributions

All authors have read and approved the final submitted manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Mackenzie L. Hagan, Anoosh Bahraini, Jessica L. Pierce, Sarah M. Bass, Kanglun Yu, Ranya Elsayed, Mohammed Elsalanty, Maribeth H. Johnson, Anna McNeil, Paul L. McNeil, and Meghan E. McGee-Lawrence declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was not obtained because this article does not contain any studies with human participants.

Supplementary material

223_2018_487_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mackenzie L. Hagan
    • 1
  • Anoosh Bahraini
    • 1
  • Jessica L. Pierce
    • 1
  • Sarah M. Bass
    • 1
  • Kanglun Yu
    • 1
  • Ranya Elsayed
    • 2
  • Mohammed Elsalanty
    • 2
  • Maribeth H. Johnson
    • 3
  • Anna McNeil
    • 1
  • Paul L. McNeil
    • 1
  • Meghan E. McGee-Lawrence
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Medical College of GeorgiaAugusta UniversityAugustaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Oral BiologyAugusta UniversityAugustaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative MedicineAugusta UniversityAugustaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryAugusta UniversityAugustaUSA

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