Use of a homozygous G608G progeria mouse model for degenerative joint diseases research

May 11, 2020

BOSTON - Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a fatal condition that is especially prevalent in the skin, cardiovascular and the musculoskeletal systems. There exists a wide gap between existing knowledge of the disease and a potential treatment or cure.

In a study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, researchers led by Ara Nazarian, PhD, a principal investigator in the Center for Advanced Orthopaedic Studies at BIDMC, investigated the musculoskeletal phenotype of the homozygous G608G BAC-transgenic progeria mouse model, developed at Dr. Collins' lab at the National Institutes of Health, and determined the phenotypic changes of these mice after a five-arm preclinical trial of different treatment combinations with lonafarnib, pravastatin, and zoledronic acid.

"We observed that Lonafarnib did not improve bone or cartilage indices; however, treatment combinations with pravastatin and zoledronic acid significantly improved bone mechanical properties and cartilage structural parameters," said Nazarian.

The changes demonstrated in the cortical bone structure, rigidity and strength of the HGPS G608G mouse model may increase the risk for bending and deformation of bones, which could result in the skeletal dysplasia characteristic of HGPS. Cartilage abnormalities seen in this model resemble the changes observed in age-matched wild type animals, such as decreased cartilage thickness and volume. Such changes might mimic prevalent degenerative joint diseases, including osteoarthritis (OA), in the elderly.

More animal studies will be necessary before investigating the ability of this disease model to help with OA studies. But Nazarian is optimistic about the possibilities offered by this animal model.

"Osteoarthritis is a chronic debilitating disease that degrades articular cartilage and is one of the most common causes of chronic disability and pain in the elderly," said Cubria, previously a postdoctoral fellow at BIDMC and Harvard Medical School. "Accelerated aging animal models, such as this mouse model could offer a meaningful opportunity to study degenerative joint diseases."

In addition to Nazarian, coauthors include co-lead authors M. Belen Cubria and Sebastian Suarez, Aidin Masoudi, Ramin Oftadeh, Pramod Kamalapathy, Lamya Karim, and Brian D. Snyder, all of BIDMC; and Amanda DuBose, Michael R. Erdos, Wayne A. Cabral, and Francis S. Collins, of the National Institutes of Health.
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program, and The Progeria Research Foundation.

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding.

BIDMC is in the community with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Anna Jaques Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Lawrence General Hospital, Signature Healthcare, Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare, Community Care Alliance and Atrius Health. BIDMC is also clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and Hebrew Rehabilitation Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the Jackson Laboratory. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit

BIDMC is part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a new health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,000 physicians and 35,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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