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Keywords:

  • Telomere;
  • Telomere dysfunction;
  • Aging;
  • Osteoporosis;
  • Mesenchymal stem cells;
  • Engraftment

Abstract

Age-related osteoporosis is characterized by a decrease in bone-forming capacity mediated by defects in the number and function of osteoblasts. An important cellular mechanism that may in part explain osteoblast dysfunction that occurs with aging is senescence of mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs). In the telomere-based Wrn−/−Terc−/− model of accelerated aging, the osteoporotic phenotype of these mice is also associated with a major decline in MPC differentiation into osteoblasts. To investigate the role of MPC aging as a cell-autonomous mechanism in senile bone loss, transplantation of young wild-type whole bone marrow into Wrn−/−Terc−/− mutants was performed and the ability of engrafted cells to differentiate into cells of the osteoblast lineage was assessed. We found that whole bone marrow transplantation in Wrn−/−Terc−/− mice resulted in functional engraftment of MPCs up to 42 weeks, which was accompanied by a survival advantage as well as delays in microarchitectural features of skeletal aging. STEM CELLS2013;31:607–611