Noonan syndrome-causing SHP2 mutants impair ERK-dependent chondrocyte differentiation during endochondral bone growth

Hum Mol Genet. 2018 Jul 1;27(13):2276-2289. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy133.


Growth retardation is a constant feature of Noonan syndrome (NS) but its physiopathology remains poorly understood. We previously reported that hyperactive NS-causing SHP2 mutants impair the systemic production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) through hyperactivation of the RAS/extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) signalling pathway. Besides endocrine defects, a direct effect of these mutants on growth plate has not been explored, although recent studies have revealed an important physiological role for SHP2 in endochondral bone growth. We demonstrated that growth plate length was reduced in NS mice, mostly due to a shortening of the hypertrophic zone and to a lesser extent of the proliferating zone. These histological features were correlated with decreased expression of early chondrocyte differentiation markers, and with reduced alkaline phosphatase staining and activity, in NS murine primary chondrocytes. Although IGF1 treatment improved growth of NS mice, it did not fully reverse growth plate abnormalities, notably the decreased hypertrophic zone. In contrast, we documented a role of RAS/ERK hyperactivation at the growth plate level since 1) NS-causing SHP2 mutants enhance RAS/ERK activation in chondrocytes in vivo (NS mice) and in vitro (ATDC5 cells) and 2) inhibition of RAS/ERK hyperactivation by U0126 treatment alleviated growth plate abnormalities and enhanced chondrocyte differentiation. Similar effects were obtained by chronic treatment of NS mice with statins. In conclusion, we demonstrated that hyperactive NS-causing SHP2 mutants impair chondrocyte differentiation during endochondral bone growth through a local hyperactivation of the RAS/ERK signalling pathway, and that statin treatment may be a possible therapeutic approach in NS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Butadienes / administration & dosage
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Growth Plate / abnormalities
  • Growth Plate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / administration & dosage
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / genetics*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Nitriles / administration & dosage
  • Noonan Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Noonan Syndrome / genetics*
  • Noonan Syndrome / pathology
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 11 / genetics*


  • Butadienes
  • Nitriles
  • U 0126
  • insulin-like growth factor-1, mouse
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 11