Eveline Boudin, Timur Yorgan, Igor Fijalkowski, Stephan Sonntag, Ellen Steenackers, Gretl Hendrickx, Silke Peeters, Annelies De Maré, Benjamin Vervaet, Anja Verhulst, Geert Mortier, Patrick D'Haese, Thorsten Schinke, Wim Van Hul
Sclerosteosis is a rare autosomal recessive bone disorder marked by hyperostosis of the skull and tubular bones. Initially, we and others reported that sclerosteosis was caused by loss-of-function mutations in SOST, encoding sclerostin. More recently, we identified disease-causing mutations in LRP4, a binding partner of sclerostin, in three sclerosteosis patients. Upon binding to sclerostin, LRP4 can inhibit the canonical WNT signaling that is known to be an important pathway in the regulation of bone formation. To further investigate the role of LRP4 in the bone formation process, we generated an Lrp4 mutated sclerosteosis mouse model by introducing the p.Arg1170Gln mutation in the mouse genome. Extensive analysis of the bone phenotype of the Lrp4R1170Q/R1170Q knock-in (KI) mouse showed the presence of increased trabecular and cortical bone mass as a consequence of increased bone formation by the osteoblasts. In addition, three-point bending analysis also showed that the increased bone mass results in increased bone strength. In contrast to the human sclerosteosis phenotype, we could not observe syndactyly in the forelimbs or hindlimbs of the Lrp4 KI animals. Finally, we could not detect any significant changes in the bone formation and resorption markers in the serum of the mutant mice. However, the serum sclerostin levels were strongly increased and the level of sclerostin in the tibia was decreased in Lrp4R1170Q/R1170Q mice, confirming the role of LRP4 as an anchor for sclerostin in bone. In conclusion, the Lrp4R1170Q/R1170Q mouse is a good model for the human sclerosteosis phenotype caused by mutations in LRP4 and can be used in the future for further investigation of the mechanism whereby LRP4 regulates bone formation.