Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) are clonal malignant hematopoietic disorders in the elderly characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis. This is accompanied by an altered bone microenvironment, which contributes to MDS progression and higher bone fragility. The underlying mechanisms remain largely unexplored. Here, we show that myelodysplastic NUP98‑HOXD13 (NHD13) transgenic mice display an abnormally high number of osteoblasts, yet a higher fraction of nonmineralized bone, indicating delayed bone mineralization. This was accompanied by high fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23) serum levels, a phosphaturic hormone that inhibits bone mineralization and erythropoiesis. While Fgf23 mRNA expression was low in bone, brain, and kidney of NHD13 mice, its expression was increased in erythroid precursors. Coculturing these precursors with WT osteoblasts induced osteoblast marker gene expression, which was inhibited by blocking FGF-23. Finally, antibody-based neutralization of FGF-23 in myelodysplastic NHD13 mice improved bone mineralization and bone microarchitecture, and it ameliorated anemia. Importantly, higher serum levels of FGF‑23 and an elevated amount of nonmineralized bone in patients with MDS validated the findings. C‑terminal FGF‑23 correlated negatively with hemoglobin levels and positively with the amount of nonmineralized bone. Thus, our study identifies FGF-23 as a link between altered bone structure and ineffective erythropoiesis in MDS with the prospects of a targeted therapeutic intervention.


Heike Weidner, Ulrike Baschant, Franziska Lademann, Maria G. Ledesma Colunga, Ekaterina Balaian, Christine Hofbauer, Barbara M. Misof, Paul Roschger, Stéphane Blouin, William G. Richards, Uwe Platzbecker, Lorenz C. Hofbauer, Martina Rauner


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