The postnatal skeleton undergoes growth, remodeling, and repair. We hypothesized that skeletal progenitor cells active during these disparate phases are genetically and phenotypically distinct. We identified a highly potent regenerative cell type that we term the fracture-induced bone, cartilage, stromal progenitor (f-BCSP) in the fracture callus of adult mice. The f-BCSP possesses significantly enhanced skeletogenic potential compared with BCSPs harvested from uninjured bone. It also recapitulates many gene expression patterns involved in perinatal skeletogenesis. Our results indicate that the skeletal progenitor population is functionally stratified, containing distinct subsets responsible for growth, regeneration, and repair. Furthermore, our findings suggest that injury-induced changes to the skeletal stem and progenitor microenvironments could activate these cells and enhance their regenerative potential.
Keywords: fracture healing; injury activation; osteogenesis; regeneration; skeletal stem/progenitor cell.