Aging periosteal progenitor cells have reduced regenerative responsiveness to bone injury and to the anabolic actions of PTH 1-34 treatment

Kiminori Yukata, Chao Xie, Tian Fang Li, Masahiko Takahata, Donna Hoak, Sirish Kondabolu, Xinping Zhang, Hani A. Awad, Edward M. Schwarz, Christopher A. Beck, Jennifer H. Jonason, Regis J. O'Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


A stabilized tibia fracture model was used in young (8-week old) and aged (1-year old) mice to define the relative bone regenerative potential and the relative responsiveness of the periosteal progenitor population with aging and PTH 1-34 (PTH) systemic therapy. Bone regeneration was assessed through gene expressions, radiographic imaging, histology/histomorphometry, and biomechanical testing. Radiographs and microCT showed increased calcified callus tissue and enhanced bone healing in young compared to aged mice. A key mechanism involved reduced proliferation, expansion, and differentiation of periosteal progenitor cell populations in aged mice. The experiments showed that PTH increased calcified callus tissue and torsional strength with a greater response in young mice. Histology and quantitative histomorphometry confirmed that PTH increased callus tissue area due primarily to an increase in bone formation, since minimal changes in cartilage and mesenchyme tissue area occurred. Periosteum examined at 3, 5, and 7. days showed that PTH increased cyclin D1 expression, the total number of cells in the periosteum, and width of the periosteal regenerative tissue. Gene expression showed that aging delayed differentiation of both bone and cartilage tissues during fracture healing. PTH resulted in sustained Col10a1 expression consistent with delayed chondrocyte maturation, but otherwise minimally altered cartilage gene expression. In contrast, PTH 1-34 stimulated expression of Runx2 and Osterix, but resulted in reduced Osteocalcin. β-Catenin staining was present in mesenchymal chondroprogenitors and chondrocytes in early fracture healing, but was most intense in osteoblastic cells at later times. PTH increased active β-catenin staining in the osteoblast populations of both young and aged mice, but had a lesser effect in cartilage. Altogether the findings show that reduced fracture healing in aging involves decreased proliferation and differentiation of stem cells lining the bone surface. While PTH 1-34 enhances the proliferation and expansion of the periosteal stem cell population and accelerates bone formation and fracture healing, the effects are proportionately reduced in aged mice compared to young mice. β-Catenin is induced by PTH in early and late fracture healing and is a potential target of PTH 1-34 effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Fracture healing
  • Mesenchymal stem cell
  • Parathyroid hormone
  • Periosteum
  • Wnt-β-catenin signaling


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