Augmentation of BMP Signaling in Cranial Neural Crest Cells Leads to Premature Cranial Sutures Fusion through Endochondral Ossification in Mice
pubmed: wnt1 2023-06-01
JBMR Plus. 2023 Feb 23;7(4):e10716. doi: 10.1002/jbm4.10716. eCollection 2023 Apr.
Craniosynostosis is a congenital anomaly characterized by the premature fusion of cranial sutures. Sutures are a critical connective tissue that regulates bone growth; their aberrant fusion results in abnormal shapes of the head and face. The molecular and cellular mechanisms have been investigated for a long time, but knowledge gaps remain between genetic mutations and mechanisms of pathogenesis for craniosynostosis. We previously demonstrated that the augmentation of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling through constitutively active BMP type 1A receptor (caBmpr1a) in neural crest cells (NCCs) caused the development of premature fusion of the anterior frontal suture, leading to craniosynostosis in mice. In this study, we demonstrated that ectopic cartilage forms in sutures prior to premature fusion in caBmpr1a mice. The ectopic cartilage is subsequently replaced by bone nodules leading to premature fusion with similar but unique fusion patterns between two neural crest-specific transgenic Cre mouse lines, P0-Cre and Wnt1-Cre mice, which coincides with patterns of premature fusion in each line. Histologic and molecular analyses suggest that endochondral ossification in the affected sutures. Both in vitro and in vivo observations suggest a greater chondrogenic capacity and reduced osteogenic capability of neural crest progenitor cells in mutant lines. These results suggest that the augmentation of BMP signaling alters the cell fate of cranial NCCs toward a chondrogenic lineage to prompt endochondral ossification to prematurely fuse cranial sutures. By comparing P0-Cre;caBmpr1a and Wnt1-Cre;caBmpr1a mice at the stage of neural crest formation, we found more cell death of cranial NCCs in P0-Cre;caBmpr1a than Wnt1-Cre;caBmpr1a mice at the developing facial primordia. These findings may provide a platform for understanding why mutations of broadly expressed genes result in the premature fusion of limited sutures. © 2022 The Authors. JBMR Plus published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.