Murine Tissue-Resident PDGFRα+ Fibro-Adipogenic Progenitors Spontaneously Acquire Osteogenic Phenotype in an Altered Inflammatory Environment

J Bone Miner Res. 2020 Aug;35(8):1525-1534. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.4020. Epub 2020 Apr 16.


Acquired heterotopic ossifications (HO) arising as a result of various traumas, including injury or surgical interventions, often result in pain and loss of motion. Though triggers for HO have been identified, the cellular source of these heterotopic lesions as well as the underlying mechanisms that drive the formation of acquired HO remain poorly understood, and treatment options, including preventative treatments, remain limited. Here, we explore the cellular source of HO and a possible underlying mechanism for their spontaneous osteogenic differentiation. We demonstrate that HO lesions arise from tissue-resident PDGFRα+ fibro/adipogenic progenitors (FAPs) in skeletal muscle and not from circulating bone marrow-derived progenitors. Further, we show that accumulation of these cells in the tissue after damage due to alterations in the inflammatory environment can result in activation of their inherent osteogenic potential. This work suggests a mechanism by which an altered inflammatory cell and FAP interactions can lead to the formation of HO after injury and presents potential targets for therapeutics in acquired HO. © 2020 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.


MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Osteogenesis*
  • Phenotype