Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), or brittle bone disease, is a disorder characterized by bone fragility and increased fracture incidence. All forms of OI also feature short stature, implying an effect on endochondral ossification. Using the Aga2+/– mouse, which has a mutation in type I collagen, we show an affected growth plate primarily due to a shortened proliferative zone. We used single-cell RNA-Seq analysis of tibial and femoral growth plate tissues to understand transcriptional consequences on growth plate cell types. We show that perichondrial cells, which express abundant type I procollagen, and growth plate chondrocytes, which were found to express low amounts of type I procollagen, had ER stress and dysregulation of the same unfolded protein response pathway as previously demonstrated in osteoblasts. Aga2+/– proliferating chondrocytes showed increased FGF and MAPK signaling, findings consistent with accelerated differentiation. There was also increased Sox9 expression throughout the growth plate, which is expected to accelerate early chondrocyte differentiation but reduce late hypertrophic differentiation. These data reveal that mutant type I collagen expression in OI has an impact on the cartilage growth plate. These effects on endochondral ossification indicate that OI is a biologically complex phenotype going beyond its known impacts on bone to negatively affect linear growth.
Jennifer Zieba, Lisette Nevarez, Davis Wachtell, Jorge H. Martin, Alexander Kot, Sereen Wong, Daniel H. Cohn, Deborah Krakow