Wnt signaling maintains homeostasis in the bone marrow cavity: if Wnt signaling is inhibited then bone volume and density would decline. In this study, we identified a population of Wnt-responsive cells as osteoprogenitor in the intact trabecular bone region, which were responsible for bone development and turnover. If an implant was placed into the long bone, this Wnt-responsive population and their progeny contributed to osseointegration. We employed Axin2CreCreERT2/+;R26mTmG/+ transgenic mouse strain in which Axin2-positive, Wnt-responsive cells, and their progeny are permanently labeled by GFP upon exposure to tamoxifen. Each mouse received femoral implants placed into a site prepared solely by drilling, and a single-dose liposomal WNT3A protein was used in the treatment group. A lineage tracing strategy design allowed us to identify cells actively expressing Axin2 in response to Wnt signaling pathway. These tools demonstrated that Wnt-responsive cells and their progeny comprise a quiescent population residing in the trabecular region. In response to an implant placed, this population becomes mitotically active: cells migrated into the peri-implant region, up-regulated the expression of osteogenic proteins. Ultimately, those cells gave rise to osteoblasts that produced significantly more new bone in the peri-implant region. Wnt-responsive cells directly contributed to implant osseointegration. Using a liposomal WNT3A protein therapeutic, we showed that a single application at the time of implant placed was sufficient to accelerate osseointegration. The Wnt-responsive cell population in trabecular bone, activated by injury, ultimately contributes to implant osseointegration. Liposomal WNT3A protein therapeutic accelerates implant osseointegration in the long bone.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine