PDGFRα reporter activity identifies periosteal progenitor cells critical for bone formation and fracture repair

Jiajia Xu, Yiyun Wang, Zhu Li, Ye Tian, Zhao Li, Amy Lu, Ching Yun Hsu, Stefano Negri, Cammy Tang, Robert J. Tower, Carol Morris, Aaron W. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The outer coverings of the skeleton, which is also known as the periosteum, are arranged in concentric layers and act as a reservoir for tissue-specific bone progenitors. The cellular heterogeneity within this tissue depot is being increasingly recognized. Here, inducible PDGFRα reporter animals were found to mark a population of cells within the periosteum that act as a stem cell reservoir for periosteal appositional bone formation and fracture repair. During these processes, PDGFRα reporter+ progenitors give rise to Nestin+ periosteal cells before becoming osteoblasts and osteocytes. The diphtheria toxin-mediated ablation of PDGFRα reporter+ cells led to deficits in cortical bone formation during homeostasis and a diminutive hard callus during fracture repair. After ossicle transplantation, both mouse PDGFRα reporter+ periosteal cells and human Pdgfrα+ periosteal progenitors expand, ossify, and recruit marrow to a greater extent than their counterpart periosteal cells, whereas PDGFRα reporter periosteal cells exhibit a predisposition to chondrogenesis in vitro. Total RNA sequencing identified enrichment of the secreted factors Fermt3 and Ptpn6 within PDGFRα reporter+ periosteal cells, which partly underlie the osteoblastogenic features of this cell population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalBone Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Physiology


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