Circulating osteogentic precursor cells in non-hereditary heterotopic ossification

Kevin P. Egan, Gustavo Duque, Mary Ann Keenan, Robert J. Pignolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Non-hereditary heterotopic ossification (NHHO) may occur after musculoskeletal trauma, central nervous system (CNS) injury, or surgery. We previously described circulating osteogenic precursor (COP) cells as a bone marrow–derived type 1 collagen+ CD45+ subpopulation of mononuclear adherent cells that are able of producing extraskeletal ossification in a murine in vivo implantation assay. In the current study, we performed a tissue analysis of COP cells in NHHO secondary to defined conditions, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebrovascular accident, trauma without neurologic injury, and joint arthroplasty. All bone specimens revealed the presence of COP cells at 2–14 cells per high power field. COP cells were localized to early fibroproliferative and neovascular lesions of NHHO with evidence for their circulatory status supported by their presence near blood vessels in examined lesions. This study provides the first systematic evaluation of COP cells as a contributory histopathological finding associated with multiple forms of NHHO. These data support that circulating, hematopoietic-derived cells with osteogenic potential can seed inflammatory sites, such as those subject to soft tissue injury, and due to their migratory nature, may likely be involved in seeding sites distant to CNS injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-64
Number of pages4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Circulating osteogenic precursor (COP) cells
  • Heterotopic ossification
  • Injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Trauma
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


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