Circulating osteogenic precursor cells in heterotopic bone formation

Robin K. Suda, Paul C. Billings, Kevin P. Egan, Jung Hoon Kim, Ruth McCarrick-Walmsley, David L. Glaser, David L. Porter, Eileen M. Shore, Robert J. Pignolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Cells with osteogenic potential can be found in a variety of tissues. Here we show that circulating osteogenic precursor (COP) cells, a bone marrow-derived type I collagen+/CD45+ subpopulation of mononuclear adherent cells, are present in early preosseous fibroproliferative lesions in patients with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) and nucleate heterotopic ossification (HO) in a murine in vivo implantation assay. Blood samples from patients with FOP with active episodes of HO contain significantly higher numbers of clonally derived COP cell colonies than patients with stable disease or unaffected individuals. The highest level of COP cells was found in a patient just before the clinical onset of an HO exacerbation. Our studies show that even COP cells derived from an unaffected individual can contribute to HO in genetically susceptible host tissue. The possibility that circulating, hematopoietic-derived cells with osteogenic potential can seed inflammatory sites has tremendous implications and, to our knowledge, represents the first example of their involvement in clinical HO. Thus, bone formation is not limited to cells of the mesenchymal lineage, and circulating cells of hematopoietic origin can also serve as osteogenic precursors at remote sites of tissue inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2209-2219
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Bone marrow transplantation
  • Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressive
  • Heterotopic ossification
  • Mesenchymal progenitor cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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