Abnormalities in the structure and/or processing of type I collagen cause osteogenesis imperfecta and result in bone fragility, abnormal bone growth and short stature. Type I collagen is expressed in the growth plate but the mechanisms by which abnormalities in collagen I contribute to growth plate dysfunction and growth retardation are unknown. The non-collagenous domain (NC1) of type X collagen (CXM) is released from the hypertrophic zone of active growth plates and is a marker for new endochondral bone formation. Serum CXM levels are strongly correlated with the rate of growth in healthy children. We hypothesized that CXM levels in children with OI would be abnormal when compared to normally growing children. Using participants from the Brittle Bone Disease Consortium Natural History Study we analyzed the distribution of CXM over the ages of 8 months to 40 years in 187 subjects with OI (89 type I and 98 types III/IV) as well as analyzed the relationship between growth velocity and CXM levels in a subset of 100 children <16 years old with OI (44 type I and 56 types III/IV). CXM levels in both control and OI children demonstrated a similar pattern of variation by age with higher levels in early life and puberty followed by a post-pubertal drop. However, there was greater variability within the OI cohort and the relationship with growth velocity was weaker. The ratio of CXM level to growth velocity was elevated in children with type III/IV OI compared to controls. These results suggest that the relationship between hypertrophic zone function and the end point of skeletal growth is disrupted in OI.
Keywords: Collagen X; Growth plate; Osteogenesis imperfecta.
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