Evaluation of Musculoskeletal Phenotype of the G608G Progeria Mouse Model With Lonafarnib, Pravastatin, and Zoledronic Acid as Treatment Groups

Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a uniformly fatal condition that is especially prevalent in skin, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems. A wide gap exists between our knowledge of the disease and a promising treatment or cure. The aim of this study was to first characterize the musculoskeletal phenotype of the homozygous G608G BAC-transgenic progeria mouse model, and to determine the phenotype changes of HGPS mice after a five-arm preclinical trial of different treatment combinations with lonafarnib, pravastatin, and zoledronic acid. Microcomputed tomography and CT-based rigidity analyses were performed to assess cortical and trabecular bone structure, density, and rigidity. Bones were loaded to failure with three-point bending to assess strength. Contrast-enhanced µCT imaging of mouse femurs was performed to measure glycosaminoglycan content, thickness, and volume of the femoral head articular cartilage. Advanced glycation end products were assessed with a fluorometric assay. The changes demonstrated in the cortical bone structure, rigidity, stiffness, and modulus of the HGPS G608G mouse model may increase the risk for bending and deformation, which could result in the skeletal dysplasia characteristic of HGPS. Cartilage abnormalities seen in this HGPS model resemble changes observed in the age-matched WT controls, including early loss of glycosaminoglycans, and decreased cartilage thickness and volume. Such changes might mimic prevalent degenerative joint diseases in the elderly. Lonafarnib monotherapy did not improve bone or cartilage parameters, but treatment combinations with pravastatin and zoledronic acid significantly improved bone structure and mechanical properties and cartilage structural parameters, which ameliorate the musculoskeletal phenotype of the disease.

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