Postnatal progression of bone disease in the cervical spines of mucopolysaccharidosis I dogs

Joseph A. Chiaro, Matthew D. Baron, Chelsea M. del Alcazar, Patricia O'Donnell, Eileen M. Shore, Dawn M. Elliott, Katherine P. Ponder, Mark E. Haskins, Lachlan J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: Mucopolysaccharidosis I (MPS I) is a lysosomal storage disorder characterized by deficient α- l-iduronidase activity leading to accumulation of poorly degraded dermatan and heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). MPS I is associated with significant cervical spine disease, including vertebral dysplasia, odontoid hypoplasia, and accelerated disk degeneration, leading to spinal cord compression and kypho-scoliosis. The objective of this study was to establish the nature and rate of progression of cervical vertebral bone disease in MPS I using a canine model. Methods: C2 vertebrae were obtained post-mortem from normal and MPS I dogs at 3, 6 and 12. months-of-age. Morphometric parameters and mineral density for the vertebral trabecular bone and odontoid process were determined using micro-computed tomography. Vertebrae were then processed for paraffin histology, and cartilage area in both the vertebral epiphyses and odontoid process were quantified. Results: Vertebral bodies of MPS I dogs had lower trabecular bone volume/total volume (BV/TV), trabecular thickness (Tb.Th), trabecular number (Tb.N) and bone mineral density (BMD) than normals at all ages. For MPS I dogs, BV/TV, Tb.Th and BMD plateaued after 6. months-of-age. The odontoid process appeared morphologically abnormal for MPS I dogs at 6 and 12. months-of-age, although BV/TV and BMD were not significantly different from normals. MPS I dogs had significantly more cartilage in the vertebral epiphyses at both 3 and 6. months-of-age. At 12. months-of-age, epiphyseal growth plates in normal dogs were absent, but in MPS I dogs they persisted. Conclusions: In this study we report reduced trabecular bone content and mineralization, and delayed cartilage to bone conversion in MPS I dogs from 3. months-of-age, which may increase vertebral fracture risk and contribute to progressive deformity. The abnormalities of the odontoid process we describe likely contribute to increased incidence of atlanto-axial subluxation observed clinically. Therapeutic strategies that enhance bone formation may decrease incidence of spine disease in MPS I patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-83
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Development
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis
  • Odontoid process
  • Spine
  • Trabecular bone


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