The periosteum is critical for bone maintenance and healing. However, the in vivo identity and specific regulatory mechanisms of adult periosteum-resident skeletal stem cells are unknown. Here, we report animal models that selectively and durably label postnatal Mx1+αSMA+ periosteal stem cells (P-SSCs) and establish that P-SSCs are a long-term repopulating, functionally distinct SSC subset responsible for lifelong generation of periosteal osteoblasts. P-SSCs rapidly migrate toward an injury site, supply osteoblasts and chondrocytes, and recover new periosteum. Notably, P-SSCs specifically express CCL5 receptors, CCR3 and CCR5. Real-time intravital imaging revealed that the treatment with CCL5 induces P-SSC migration in vivo and bone healing, while CCL5/CCR5 deletion, CCR5 inhibition, or local P-SSC ablation reduces osteoblast number and delays bone healing. Human periosteal cells express CCR5 and undergo CCL5-mediated migration. Thus, the adult periosteum maintains genetically distinct SSC subsets with a CCL5-dependent migratory mechanism required for bone maintenance and injury repair.
Keywords: CCL5; bone repair; in vivo real-time imaging; periosteum; skeletal stem cells; stem cell migration.
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