Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Reveals B Cells Are Important Regulators in Fracture Healing

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 Nov 8:12:666140. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2021.666140. eCollection 2021.


The bone marrow microenvironment is composed primarily of immune and stromal cells that play important roles in fracture healing. Although immune cells have been identified in mouse bone marrow, variations in their numbers and type during the fracture healing process remain poorly defined. In this study, single-cell RNA sequencing was used to identify immune cells in fracture tissues, including neutrophils, monocytes, T cells, B cells, and plasma cells. The number of B cells decreased significantly in the early stage of fracture healing. Furthermore, B cells in mice fracture models decreased significantly during the epiphyseal phase and then gradually returned to normal during the epiphyseal transformation phase of fracture healing. The B-cell pattern was opposite to that of bone formation and resorption activities. Notably, B-cell-derived exosomes inhibited bone homeostasis in fracture healing. In humans, a decrease in the number of B cells during the epiphyseal phase stimulated fracture healing. Then, as the numbers of osteoblasts increased during the callus reconstruction stage, the number of B cells gradually recovered, which reduced additional bone regeneration. Thus, B cells are key regulators of fracture healing and inhibit excessive bone regeneration by producing multiple osteoblast inhibitors.

Keywords: B cells; bone marrow; exosome; fracture healing; scRNA-seq.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Line
  • Exosomes / immunology
  • Fracture Healing
  • Fractures, Bone / genetics
  • Fractures, Bone / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Single-Cell Analysis