Transplantability and therapeutic effects of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal cells in children with osteogenesis imperfecta

Nat Med. 1999 Mar;5(3):309-13. doi: 10.1038/6529.


In principle, transplantation of mesenchymal progenitor cells would attenuate or possibly correct genetic disorders of bone, cartilage and muscle, but clinical support for this concept is lacking. Here we describe the initial results of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation in three children with osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disorder in which osteoblasts produce defective type I collagen, leading to osteopenia, multiple fractures, severe bony deformities and considerably shortened stature. Three months after osteoblast engraftment (1.5-2.0% donor cells), representative specimens of trabecular bone showed histologic changes indicative of new dense bone formation. All patients had increases in total body bone mineral content ranging from 21 to 29 grams (median, 28), compared with predicted values of 0 to 4 grams (median, 0) for healthy children with similar changes in weight. These improvements were associated with increases in growth velocity and reduced frequencies of bone fracture. Thus, allogeneic bone marrow transplantation can lead to engraftment of functional mesenchymal progenitor cells, indicating the feasibility of this strategy in the treatment of osteogenesis imperfecta and perhaps other mesenchymal stem cell disorders as well.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mesoderm / cytology*
  • Osteoblasts / cytology*
  • Osteogenesis / physiology
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta / therapy*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*