Image_1_Activin-A Induces Fewer, but Larger Osteoclasts From Monocytes in Both Healthy Controls and Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Patients.jpeg
Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) is a rare genetic disease characterized by heterotopic ossification (HO) that occurs in muscle tissue, tendons, and ligaments. The disease is caused by mutations in the Activin receptor type I (ACVR1) gene resulting in enhanced responsiveness to Activin-A. Binding of this molecule to the mutated receptor induces HO. Bone metabolism normally requires the coupled action of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, which seems to be disturbed during HO. We hypothesize that Activin-A may also counteract the formation of osteoclasts in FOP patients. In this study we investigated the effect of Activin-A on osteoclast differentiation of CD14+ monocytes from FOP patients and healthy controls. The lymphocytic and monocytic cell populations were determined by FACS analysis. Expression of the mutated R206H receptor was assessed and confirmed by allele specific PCR. The effect of Activin-A on osteoclastogenesis was assessed by counting the number and size of multinucleated cells. Osteoclast activity was determined by culturing the cells on Osteo Assay plates. The influence of Activin-A on expression of various osteoclast related genes was studied with QPCR. Blood from FOP patients contained similar percentages of classical, intermediate, or non-classical monocytes as healthy controls. Addition of Activin-A to the osteoclastogenesis cultures resulted in fewer osteoclasts in both control and FOP cultures. The osteoclasts formed in the presence of Activin-A were, however, much larger and more active compared to the cultures without Activin-A. This effect was tempered when the Activin-A inhibitor follistatin was added to the Activin-A containing cultures. Expression of osteoclast specific genes Cathepsin K and TRAcP was upregulated, gene expression of osteoclastogenesis related genes M-CSF and DC-STAMP was downregulated by Activin-A. Since Activin-A is a promising target for inhibiting the formation of HO in FOP, it is important to know its effects on both osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Our study shows that Activin-A induces fewer, but larger and more active osteoclasts independent of the presence of the mutated ACVR1 receptor. When considering FOP as an Activin-A driven disease that acts locally, our findings suggest that Activin-A could cause a more pronounced local resorption by larger osteoclasts. Thus, when targeting Activin-A in patients with neutralizing antibodies, HO formation could potentially be inhibited, and osteoclastic activity could be slightly reduced, but then performed dispersedly by more and smaller osteoclasts.
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