Intensive morphometric analysis of enormous alterations in skeletal bone system with micro-CT for AHNAK−/− mice
AHNAK has been reported to be involved in actin cytoskeleton rearrangement of some cell types, calcium homeostasis, and activation of T cells. Although the functional role of AHNAK in muscle cells, epidermis, and brain has been determined, its association with apparent clinical impairment has not been found yet. During phenotypic analysis of AHNAK knock out (KO) mice for many years, we observed that AHNAK KO mice showed very slow growth. Snouts of these animals were very short, and their bones were easily broken compared to normal mice. It is known that AHNAK is closely related to calcium. However, intensive morphological studies on phenotypes of bone have yet been reported for AHNAK. Thus, the objective of the present study was to analyze the morphology of skull, mandibular, limbs, and caudal bones of AHNAK KO mice intensively using micro-CT with many factors for various ages of these mice (6 weeks, 18 weeks, and 40 weeks). As a result, it was found that the facial region of AHNAK KO mouse showed a large difference in mandible than skull. Their both femur and tibia were shortened, and bone strength was also significantly decreased compared to normal mice. Particularly, the tail bone of AHNAK KO mice exhibited morphological abnormality by age. Taken together, these results suggest that AHNAK plays an important role in bone shape, development, and metabolism. Although our results demonstrated that AHNAK has a distinct role in bone, further investigations are needed to determine various features of bone metabolism related to AHNAK in the future.