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Bone. 2008 Apr;42(4):681-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2007.12.215. Epub 2008 Jan 5.

Role of genetic background in determining phenotypic severity throughout postnatal development and at peak bone mass in Col1a2 deficient mice (oim).

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  • 1Genetics Area Program, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri, 65211, USA; Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri, 65211, USA.


Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a genetically and clinically heterogeneous disease characterized by extreme bone fragility. Although fracture numbers tend to decrease post-puberty, OI patients can exhibit significant variation in clinical outcome, even among related individuals harboring the same mutation. OI most frequently results from mutations in type I collagen genes, yet how genetic background impacts phenotypic outcome remains unclear. Therefore, we analyzed the phenotypic severity of a known proalpha2(I) collagen gene defect (oim) on two genetic backgrounds (congenic C57BL/6J and outbred B6C3Fe) throughout postnatal development to discern the phenotypic contributions of the Col1a2 locus relative to the contribution of the genetic background. To this end, femora and tibiae were isolated from wildtype (Wt) and homozygous (oim/oim) mice of each strain at 1, 2 and 4 months of age. Femoral geometry was determined via muCT prior to torsional loading to failure to assess bone structural and material biomechanical properties. Changes in mineral composition, collagen content and bone turnover were determined using neutron activation analyses, hydroxyproline content and serum pyridinoline crosslinks. muCT analysis demonstrated genotype-, strain- and age-associated changes in femoral geometry as well as a marked decrease in the amount of bone in oim/oim mice of both strains. Oim/oim mice of both strains, as well as C57BL/6J (B6) mice of all genotypes, had reduced femoral biomechanical strength properties compared to Wt at all ages, although they improved with age. Mineral levels of fluoride, magnesium and sodium were associated with biomechanical strength properties in both strains and all genotypes at all ages. Oim/oim animals also had reduced collagen content as compared to Wt at all ages. Serum pyridinoline crosslinks were highest at two months of age, regardless of strain or genotype. Strain differences in bone parameters exist throughout development, implicating a role for genetic background in determining biomechanical strength. Age-associated improvements indicate that oim/oim animals partially compensate for their weaker bone material, but never attain Wt levels. These studies indicate the importance of genetic background in determining phenotypic severity, but the presence of the proalpha2(I) collagen gene defect and age of the animal are the primary determinants of phenotypic severity.

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