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General Orthopaedics


The Canadian Orthopaedic Association (COA) and The International Combined Orthopaedic Research Societies (ICORS) Meeting, Montreal, Canada, June 2019. Part 3.


Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) is a heritable bone disorder characterized by bone fragility and often caused by mutations in the Type I collagen-encoding genes COL1A1 and COL1A2. The pathophysiology of OI, particularly at the cellular level, is still not well understood. This contributes to the lack of a cure for this disorder as well as an effective preventive or management options of its complications. In the bone environment, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and osteoblasts (Ob) exert their function, at least partially, through the secretion of extracellular vesicles (EV). EV is a heterogeneous group of nanosized membrane-enclosed vesicles that carry/transfer a cargo of proteins, lipid and nucleic acids from the secreting cell to its target cells. Our objective is to characterize EVs secreted by human control (HC)- and OI-MSCs and their derived Obs, with focus on their protein content. We hypothesize that there will be differences in the protein content of EVs secreted by OI-Obs compared to HC-Ob, which may indicate a deviation from healthy Ob behavior and, thus, a role in OI pathophysiology.

MSCs were harvested from the adipose tissue of four COL1A1-OI and two HC patients. They were proliferated in an EV-depleted media, then induced to differentiate to extracellular matrix (ECM)-producing osteoblasts, which then gets mineralized. EVs secreted by MSCs (MSC-EV) and Obs (Ob-EV) were then purified and concentrated.

Using liquid chromatography- tandem mass spectrometry, proteomic analysis of the EV groups was done. A total of 384 unique proteins were identified in all EVs, 373 were found in Vesiclepedia indicating a good enrichment of our samples with EV proteins. 67 proteins of the total 384 were exclusively or significantly upregulated (p-value < 0 .05) in OI-Ob-EV and 28 proteins in the HC-Ob-EVs, relative to each other. These two groups of differentially expressed proteins were compared by Gene Ontology (GO) analysis of their cellular compartment, molecular functions and biological processes. We observed that there were differences in the cellular origin of EV-proteins, which may indicate heterogeneity of the isolated EVs. Molecular function and biological process analyses of the HC-Ob-EV proteins showed, as expected, predominantly calcium-related activities such as extracellular matrix (ECM) mineralization. OI-Ob-EV proteins were still predominantly exhibiting ECM organization and formation functions. Annexins A1,2,4,5 and 6 were differentially and significantly upregulated by the HC-Ob-EVs. Fibronectin (FN), Fibulin-1 and −2, and Laminins (α4 & γ1), which are amongst the early non-collagenous proteins to form the ECM, were differentially and significantly upregulated in the OI-Ob-EVs.

We concluded that the persistent expression of Fibronectin (FN), Fibulin-1 and −2, and Laminins in OI-Ob-EVs might indicate the presence of an immature ECM that the OI-Obs are trying to organize. ECM mineralization is largely dependent on the presence of an organized mature ECM, and this being compromised in OI bone environment, may be a contributor to the bone fragility seen in these patients. Annexins, which are calcium-binders that are vital for ECM mineralization, were significantly downregulated in the OI-Ob-EVs and this may be a further contributor to ECM mineralization impairment and bone fragility.