Influence of bone and muscle injuries on the osteogenic potential of muscle progenitors: Contribution of tissue environment to heterotopic ossification

Jeremy Molligan, Reed Mitchell, Lew Schon, Samuel Achilefu, Talal Zahoor, Young Cho, Jeffery Loube, Zijun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


By using surgical mouse models, this study investigated how the tissue environment influences the osteogenic potential of muscle progenitors (m-progenitors) and potentially contributes to heterotopic ossification (HO). Injury was induced by clamping the gluteus maximus and medius (group M) or osteotomy of greater trochanter (group O) on the right hip, as well as combined muscle injury and osteotomy of greater trochanter (group M+O). The gluteus maximus and medius of the operated hips were harvested at days 1, 3, 5, and 10 for isolation of m-progenitors. The cells were cultured in an osteogenic medium for 3 weeks, and osteogenesis was evaluated by matrix mineralization and the expression of osteogenesis-related genes. The expression of type I collagen, RUNX2 (runt-related transcription factor 2), and osteocalcin by the m-progenitors of group M+O was significantly increased, compared with groups M and O. Osteogenic m-progenitors in group O increased the expression of bone morphogenetic protein 2 and also bone morphogenetic protein antagonist differential screening-selected gene aberrative in neuroblastoma. On histology, there was calcium deposition mostly in the muscles of group M+O harvested at day 10. CD56, representing myogenic progenitors, was highly expressed in the m-progenitors isolated from group M (day 10), but m-progenitors of group M+O (day 10) exhibited the highest expression of platelet-derived growth factor receptor α (PDGFR-α), a marker of muscle-derived mesenchymal stem cells (M-MSCs). The expressions of PDGFR-a and RUNX2 were colocalized in osteogenic m-progenitors. The data indicate that the tissue environment simulated in the M+O model is a favorable condition for HO formation. Most likely, M-MSCs, rather than myogenic progenitors, in the m-progenitors participate in HO formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-753
Number of pages9
JournalStem Cells Translational Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Heterotopic ossification
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Muscle
  • Osteogenesis
  • Progenitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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