BACKGROUND. Currently, there is no disease-specific therapy for osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). Preclinical studies demonstrate that excessive TGF-β signaling is a pathogenic mechanism in OI. Here, we evaluated TGF-β signaling in children with OI and conducted a phase I clinical trial of TGF-β inhibition in adults with OI. METHODS. Histology and RNA-Seq were performed on bones obtained from children. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment assay, gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA), and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) were used to identify dysregulated pathways. Reverse-phase protein array, Western blot, and IHC were performed to evaluate protein expression. A phase I study of fresolimumab, a TGF-β neutralizing antibody, was conducted in 8 adults with OI. Safety and effects on bone remodeling markers and lumbar spine areal bone mineral density (LS aBMD) were assessed. RESULTS. OI bone demonstrated woven structure, increased osteocytes, high turnover, and reduced maturation. SMAD phosphorylation was the most significantly upregulated GO molecular event. GSEA identified the TGF-β pathway as the top activated signaling pathway, and IPA showed that TGF-β1 was the most significant activated upstream regulator mediating the global changes identified in OI bone. Treatment with fresolimumab was well-tolerated and associated with increases in LS aBMD in participants with OI type IV, whereas participants with OI type III and VIII had unchanged or decreased LS aBMD. CONCLUSION. Increased TGF-β signaling is a driver pathogenic mechanism in OI. Anti-TGF-β therapy could be a potential disease-specific therapy, with dose-dependent effects on bone mass and turnover.
ASJC Scopus subject areas