Publications by authors named "Vera Kufner"

8 Publications

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Iron overload in aging mice induces exocrine pancreatic injury and fibrosis due to acinar cell loss.

Int J Mol Med 2021 Apr 2;47(4):1-8. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Laboratory for Mineralized Tissues, Center for Translational and Clinical Research, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, HR‑10000 Zagreb, Croatia.

The relationship between hemochromatosis and diabetes has been well established, as excessive iron deposition has been reported to result in impaired function of the endocrine and exocrine pancreas. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to analyze the effects of iron accumulation on the pancreata and glucose homeostasis in a bone morphogenetic protein 6‑knockout () mouse model of hemochromatosis. The sera and pancreatic tissues of wild‑type (WT) and mice (age, 3 and 10 months) were subjected to biochemical and histological analyses. In addition, F‑fluorodeoxyglucose biodistribution was evaluated in the liver, muscle, heart, kidney and adipose tissue of both animal groups. The results demonstrated that 3‑month‑old mice exhibited iron accumulation preferentially in the exocrine pancreas, with no signs of pancreatic injury or fibrosis. No changes were observed in the glucose metabolism, as pancreatic islet diameter, insulin and glucagon secretion, blood glucose levels and glucose uptake in the liver, muscle and adipose tissue remained comparable with those in the WT mice. Aging mice presented with progressive iron deposits in the exocrine pancreas, leading to pancreatic degeneration and injury that was characterized by acinar atrophy, fibrosis and the infiltration of inflammatory cells. However, the aging mice exhibited unaltered blood glucose levels and islet structure, normal insulin secretion and moderately increased α‑cell mass compared with those in the age‑matched WT mice. Additionally, iron overload and pancreatic damage were not observed in the aging WT mice. These results supported a pathogenic role of iron overload in aging mice leading to iron‑induced exocrine pancreatic deficiency, whereas the endocrine pancreas retained normal function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2021.4893DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7910010PMC
April 2021

Recombinant Human Bone Morphogenetic Protein 6 Delivered Within Autologous Blood Coagulum Restores Critical Size Segmental Defects of Ulna in Rabbits.

JBMR Plus 2019 May 5;3(5):e10085. Epub 2018 Nov 5.

Laboratory for Mineralized Tissues School of Medicine University of Zagreb Zagreb Croatia.

BMP2 and BMP7, which use bovine Achilles tendon-derived absorbable collagen sponge and bovine bone collagen as scaffold, respectively, have been approved as bone graft substitutes for orthopedic and dental indications. Here, we describe an osteoinductive autologous bone graft substitute (ABGS) that contains recombinant human BMP6 (rhBMP6) dispersed within autologous blood coagulum (ABC) scaffold. The ABGS is created as an injectable or implantable coagulum gel with rhBMP6 binding tightly to plasma proteins within fibrin meshwork, as examined by dot-blot assays, and is released slowly as an intact protein over 6 to 8 days, as assessed by ELISA. The biological activity of ABGS was examined in vivo in rats () and rabbits (). In a rat subcutaneous implant assay, ABGS induced endochondral bone formation, as observed by histology and micro-CT analyses. In the rabbit ulna segmental defect model, a reproducible and robust bone formation with complete bridging and restoration of the defect was observed, which is dose dependent, as determined by radiographs, micro-CT, and histological analyses. In ABGS, ABC scaffold provides a permissive environment for bone induction and contributes to the use of lower doses of rhBMP6 compared with BMP7 in bovine bone collagen as scaffold. The newly formed bone undergoes remodeling and establishes cortices uniformly that is restricted to implant site by bridging with host bone. In summary, ABC carrier containing rhBMP6 may serve as an osteoinductive autologous bone graft substitute for several orthopedic applications that include delayed and nonunion fractures, anterior and posterior lumbar interbody fusion, trauma, and nonunions associated with neurofibromatosis type I.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jbm4.10085DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6524675PMC
May 2019

Systemic inhibition of BMP1-3 decreases progression of CCl-induced liver fibrosis in rats.

Growth Factors 2017 12 27;35(6):201-215. Epub 2018 Feb 27.

a Laboratory for Mineralized Tissues, Center for Translational and Clinical Research, School of Medicine , University of Zagreb, Scientific Center of Excellence for Reproductive and Regenerative Medicine , Zagreb , Croatia.

Liver fibrosis is a progressive pathological process resulting in an accumulation of excess extracellular matrix proteins. We discovered that bone morphogenetic protein 1-3 (BMP1-3), an isoform of the metalloproteinase Bmp1 gene, circulates in the plasma of healthy volunteers and its neutralization decreases the progression of chronic kidney disease in 5/6 nephrectomized rats. Here, we investigated the potential role of BMP1-3 in a chronic liver disease. Rats with carbon tetrachloride (CCl)-induced liver fibrosis were treated with monoclonal anti-BMP1-3 antibodies. Treatment with anti-BMP1-3 antibodies dose-dependently lowered the amount of collagen type I, downregulated the expression of Tgfb1, Itgb6, Col1a1, and Acta2 and upregulated the expression of Ctgf, Itgb1, and Dcn. Mehanistically, BMP1-3 inhibition decreased the plasma levels of transforming growth factor beta 1(TGFβ1) by prevention of its activation and lowered the prodecorin production further suppressing the TGFβ1 profibrotic effect. Our results suggest that BMP1-3 inhibitors have significant potential for decreasing the progression of fibrosis in liver cirrhosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08977194.2018.1428966DOI Listing
December 2017

Exogenous BMP7 corrects plasma iron overload and bone loss in Bmp6-/- mice.

Int Orthop 2015 Jan 11;39(1):161-72. Epub 2014 Oct 11.

Center for Translational and Clinical Research, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Salata 11, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia,

Purpose: Iron overload accelerates bone loss in mice lacking the bone morphogenetic protein 6 (Bmp6) gene, which is the key endogenous regulator of hepcidin, iron homeostasis gene. We investigated involvement of other BMPs in preventing haemochromatosis and subsequent osteopenia in Bmp6-/- mice.

Methods: Iron-treated wild-type (WT) and Bmp6-/- mice were analysed for hepcidin messenger RNA (mRNA) and tissue and blood BMP levels by quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), immunohistochemistry, Western blot, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and proximity extension assay. BMPs labeled with technetium-99m were used in pharmacokinetic studies.

Results: In WT mice, 4 h following iron challenge, liver Bmp6 and hepcidin expression were increased, while expression of other Bmps was not affected. In parallel, we provided the first evidence that BMP6 circulates in WT mice and that iron increased the BMP6 serum level and the specific liver uptake of (99m)Tc-BMP6. In Bmp6-/- mice, iron challenge led to blunted activation of liver Smad signaling and hepcidin expression with a delay of 24 h, associated with increased Bmp5 and Bmp7 expression and increased Bmp2, 4, 5 and 9 expression in the duodenum. Liver Bmp7 expression and increased circulating BMP9 eventually contributed to the late hepcidin response. This was further supported by exogenous BMP7 therapy resulting in an effective hepcidin expression followed by a rapid normalisation of plasma iron values and restored osteopenia in Bmp6-/- mice.

Conclusion: In Bmp6-/- mice, iron activated endogenous compensatory mechanisms of other BMPs that were not sufficient for preventing hemochromatosis and bone loss. Administration of exogenous BMP7 was effective in correcting the plasma iron level and bone loss, indicating that BMP6 is an essential but not exclusive in vivo regulator of iron homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00264-014-2550-4DOI Listing
January 2015

Systemically available bone morphogenetic protein two and seven affect bone metabolism.

Int Orthop 2014 Sep 17;38(9):1979-85. Epub 2014 Jul 17.

Laboratory for Mineralized Tissues, Center for Translational and Clinical Research, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 11, Zagreb, 10000, HR, Croatia.

Purpose: Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2 and -7 are used in patients with long-bone fractures, nonunions and spinal fusions. It is unknown whether their potential systemic bioavailability following local bone administration might affect skeletal metabolism. To answer this question, we examined effects of systemically administered BMP-2 and -7 on bone in a newly developed rat model with a low level of calciotropic hormones.

Methods: Removal of thyroid and parathyroid glands (TPTx) in rats resulted in a decreased level of calciotropic hormones and subsequent bone loss assessed by micro computed tomography (micro-CT) and measurement of serum bone formation and resorption markers, including osteocalcin, C-telopeptide, osteoprotegerin and receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand. Results were complemented with in vitro studies on osteoblast and osteoclast activity by both BMP-2 and -7. The doses used were calculated from published pharmacodynamic studies and bioavailability results from preclinical BMP-2 and -7 studies.

Results: TPTx resulted in bone loss, which was restored by systemic administration of 10-70 μg/kg of BMP-2 and 10-250 μg/kg of BMP-7. BMP-2 showed a higher capacity for enhancing trabecular microarchitecture, whereas BMP-7 augmented trabecular thickness. In vitro experiments revealed that BMP-2 and -7 when uncoupled increased the number and activity of both osteoblasts and osteoclasts.

Conclusions: Surprisingly, both BMP-2 and -7 showed an increased bone volume in an in vivo environment of low calciotropic hormones. Locally administered BMP-2 and -7 from bone devices might become partially available in circulation but will not mediate systemic bone loss.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00264-014-2425-8DOI Listing
September 2014

The clinical use of bone morphogenetic proteins revisited: a novel biocompatible carrier device OSTEOGROW for bone healing.

Int Orthop 2014 Mar 19;38(3):635-47. Epub 2013 Dec 19.

Laboratory for Mineralized Tissues, Center for Translational and Clinical Research, University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Salata 11, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia,

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to revise the clinical use of commercial BMP2 (Infuse) and BMP7 (Osigraft) based bone devices and explore the mechanism of action and efficacy of low BMP6 doses in a novel whole blood biocompatible device OSTEOGROW.

Methods: Complications from the clinical use of BMP2 and BMP7 have been systemically reviewed in light of their role in bone remodeling. BMP6 function has been assessed in Bmp6-/- mice by μCT and skeletal histology, and has also been examined in mesenchymal stem cells (MSC), hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and osteoclasts. Safety and efficacy of OSTEOGROW have been assessed in rats and rabbits.

Results: Clinical use issues of BMP2 and BMP7 have been ascribed to the limited understanding of their role in bone remodeling at the time of device development for clinical trials. BMP2 and BMP7 in bone devices significantly promote bone resorption leading to osteolysis at the endosteal surfaces, while in parallel stimulating exuberant bone formation in surrounding tissues. Unbound BMP2 and BMP7 in bone devices precipitate on the bovine collagen and cause inflammation and swelling. OSTEOGROW required small amounts of BMP6, applied in a biocompatible blood coagulum carrier, for stimulating differentiation of MSCs and accelerated healing of critical size bone defects in animals, without bone resorption and inflammation. BMP6 decreased the number of osteoclasts derived from HSC, while BMP2 and BMP7 increased their number.

Conclusions: Current issues and challenges with commercial bone devices may be resolved by using novel BMP6 biocompatible device OSTEOGROW, which will be clinically tested in metaphyseal bone fractures, compartments where BMP2 and BMP7 have not been effective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00264-013-2201-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3936094PMC
March 2014

Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)1-3 enhances bone repair.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2011 Apr 29;408(1):25-31. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

Laboratory for Mineralized Tissues, Center for Translational and Clinical Research and Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Zagreb, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia.

Members of the astacin family of metalloproteinases such as human bone morphogenetic protein 1 (BMP-1) regulate morphogenesis by processing precursors to mature functional extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and several growth factors including TGFβ, BMP2, BMP4 and GFD8. We have recently discovered that BMP1-3 isoform of the Bmp-1 gene circulates in the human plasma and is significantly increased in patients with acute bone fracture. We hypothesized that circulating BMP1-3 might have an important role in bone repair and serve as a novel bone biomarker. When administered systemically to rats with a long bone fracture and locally to rabbits with a critical size defect of the ulna, recombinant human BMP1-3 enhanced bone healing. In contrast, neutralization of the endogenous BMP1-3 by a specific polyclonal antibody delayed the bone union. Invitro BMP1-3 increased the expression of collagen type I and osteocalcin in MC3T3-E(1) osteoblast like cells, and enhanced the formation of mineralized bone nodules from bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells. We suggest that BMP1-3 is a novel systemic regulator of bone repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.03.109DOI Listing
April 2011

Sevelamer restores bone volume and improves bone microarchitecture and strength in aged ovariectomized rats.

Endocrinology 2008 Dec 7;149(12):6092-102. Epub 2008 Aug 7.

Genzyme Corporation, Framingham, Massachusetts 01701, USA.

Sevelamer hydrochloride, a noncalcium phosphate binder, has been shown to reduce coronary artery and aortic calcification, and to improve trabecular bone mineral density in hemodialysis patients with chronic kidney disease. Here, we examined whether sevelamer given orally for 12 wk with normal food could restore bone volume (BV) and strength in aged ovariectomized (OVX) rats starting at 4 wk after OVX. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, microcomputerized tomography, and bone histomorphometry analyses showed that OVX animals receiving sevelamer had increased trabecular BV (51%), trabecular number (43%), trabecular thickness (9%), cortical thickness (16%), mineral apposition rate (103%), bone formation rate (25%), and enhanced cortical and trabecular bone mechanical strength as compared with OVX rats. Sevelamer decreased collagen C telopeptide, increased osteocalcin levels, and decreased phosphate and magnesium levels without affecting calcium levels in the blood. Although sevelamer was not absorbed systemically, it stimulated osteoblast differentiation in BM-derived mesenchymal stem cell cultures, as evaluated by alkaline phosphatase positive colony-forming units, and inhibited recombinant human soluble receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand-induced osteoclast differentiation, as evaluated by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase positive cells in bone mineral-hematopoietic stem cell cultures. Surface enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry analysis revealed that 69 proteins were differently expressed after OVX, of which 30% (20 of 69) were reversed to sham activity after sevelamer intake. PTH, fibroblast growth factor-23, and cytokine profile in serum were not significantly changed. Together, these results suggest that sevelamer in food increases the BV and improves biomechanical properties of bone in OVX rats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2008-0205DOI Listing
December 2008