Mutant cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) compromises bone integrity, joint function and the balance between adipogenesis and osteogenesis

Matrix Biol. 2018 Apr:67:75-89. doi: 10.1016/j.matbio.2017.12.014. Epub 2018 Jan 5.


Mutations in COMP (cartilage oligomeric matrix protein) cause severe long bone shortening in mice and humans. Previously, we showed that massive accumulation of misfolded COMP in the ER of growth plate chondrocytes in our MT-COMP mouse model of pseudoachondroplasia (PSACH) causes premature chondrocyte death and loss of linear growth. Premature chondrocyte death results from activation of oxidative stress and inflammation through the CHOP-ER pathway and is reduced by removing CHOP or by anti-inflammatory or antioxidant therapies. Although the mutant COMP chondrocyte pathologic mechanism is now recognized, the effect of mutant COMP on bone quality and joint health (laxity) is largely unknown. Applying multiple analytic approaches, we describe a novel mechanism by which the deleterious consequences of mutant COMP retention results in upregulation of miR-223 disturbing the adipogenesis - osteogenesis balance. This results in reduction in bone mineral density, bone quality, mechanical strength and subchondral bone thickness. These, in addition to abnormal patterns of ossification at the ends of the femoral bones likely contribute to precocious osteoarthritis (OA) of the hips and knees in the MT-COMP mouse and PSACH. Moreover, joint laxity is compromised by abnormally thin ligaments. Altogether, these novel findings align with the PSACH phenotype of delayed ossification and bone age, extreme joint laxity and joint erosion, and extend our understanding of the underlying processes that affect bone in PSACH. These results introduce a novel finding that miR-223 is involved in the ossification defect in MT-COMP mice making it a therapeutic target.

Keywords: Adipogenesis; Bone architecture; Cartilage; Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein; Osteogenesis; Pseudoachondroplasia; miR-223.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achondroplasia / genetics*
  • Achondroplasia / metabolism
  • Achondroplasia / pathology
  • Adipogenesis
  • Animals
  • Bone Density
  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein / genetics*
  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Mutation*
  • Osteogenesis
  • Up-Regulation


  • Cartilage Oligomeric Matrix Protein
  • Comp protein, mouse
  • MIRN223 microRNA, mouse
  • MicroRNAs

Supplementary concepts

  • Pseudoachondroplasia