Cell Death Dis. 2023 Feb 7;14(2):88. doi: 10.1038/s41419-023-05595-5.
Osteoblast apoptosis plays an important role in age-related bone loss and osteoporosis. Our previous study revealed that advanced oxidation protein products (AOPPs) could induce nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase (NOX)-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, cause mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) depolarization, trigger the mitochondria-dependent intrinsic apoptosis pathway, and lead to osteoblast apoptosis and ultimately osteopenia and bone microstructural destruction. In this study, we found that AOPPs also induced mitochondrial ROS (mtROS) generation in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells, which was closely related to NOX-derived ROS, and aggravated the oxidative stress condition, thereby further promoting apoptosis. Removing excessive ROS and damaged mitochondria is the key factor in reversing AOPP-induced apoptosis. Here, by in vitro studies, we showed that rapamycin further activated PINK1/Parkin-mediated mitophagy in AOPP-stimulated MC3T3-E1 cells and significantly alleviated AOPP-induced cell apoptosis by eliminating ROS and damaged mitochondria. Our in vivo studies revealed that PINK1/Parkin-mediated mitophagy could decrease the plasma AOPP concentration and inhibit AOPP-induced osteoblast apoptosis, thus ameliorating AOPP accumulation-related bone loss, bone microstructural destruction and bone mineral density (BMD) loss. Together, our study indicated that therapeutic strategies aimed at upregulating osteoblast mitophagy and preserving mitochondrial function might have potential for treating age-related osteoporosis.