Introduction: Bone abnormalities, one of the primary manifestations of Menkes disease (MD), include a weakened bone matrix and low mineral density. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying these bone defects are poorly understood.
Methods: We present in vitro modeling for impaired osteogenesis in MD using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with a mutated ATP7A gene. MD-iPSC lines were generated from two patients harboring different mutations.
Results: The MD-iPSCs showed a remarkable retardation in CD105 expression with morphological anomalies during development to mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) compared with wild-type (WT)-iPSCs. Interestingly, although prolonged culture enhanced CD105 expression, mature MD-MSCs presented with low alkaline phosphatase activity, reduced calcium deposition in the extracellular matrix, and downregulated osteoblast-specific genes during osteoblast differentiation in vitro. Knockdown of ATP7A also impaired osteogenesis in WT-MSCs. Lysyl oxidase activity was also decreased in MD-MSCs during osteoblast differentiation.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that ATP7A dysfunction contributes to retardation in MSC development and impairs osteogenesis in MD.