Capturing the wide variety of impaired fracture healing phenotypes in Neurofibromatosis Type 1 with eight key factors: a computational study

A. Carlier, H. Brems, J. M. A. Ashbourn, I. Nica, E. Legius, L. Geris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Congenital pseudarthrosis of the tibia (CPT) is a rare disease which normally presents itself during early childhood by anterolateral bowing of the tibia and spontaneous tibial fractures. Although the exact etiology of CPT is highly debated, 40-80% of CPT patients are carriers of a mutation in the Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) gene, which can potentially result in an altered phenotype of the skeletal cells and impaired bone healing. In this study we use a computational model of bone regeneration to examine the effect of the Nf1 mutation on bone fracture healing by altering the parameter values of eight key factors which describe the aberrant cellular behaviour of Nf1 haploinsufficient and Nf1 biallelically inactivated cells. We show that the computational model is able to predict the formation of a hamartoma as well as a wide variety of CPT phenotypes through different combinations of altered parameter values. A sensitivity analysis by "Design of Experiments" identified the impaired endochondral ossification process and increased infiltration of fibroblastic cells as key contributors to the degree of severity of CPT. Hence, the computational model results have added credibility to the experimental hypothesis of a genetic cause (i.e. Nf1 mutation) for CPT.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20010
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2016

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