The role of bone sialoprotein in the tendon-bone insertion
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© 2016 International Society of Matrix Biology. Tendons/ligaments insert into bone via a transitional structure, the enthesis, which is susceptible to injury and difficult to repair. Fibrocartilaginous entheses contain fibrocartilage in their transitional zone, part of which is mineralized. Mineral-associated proteins within this zone have not been adequately characterized. Members of the Small Integrin Binding Ligand N-linked Glycoprotein (SIBLING) family are acidic phosphoproteins expressed in mineralized tissues. Here we show that two SIBLING proteins, bone sialoprotein (BSP) and osteopontin (OPN), are present in the mouse enthesis. Histological analyses indicate that the calcified zone of the quadriceps tendon enthesis is longer in Bsp-/- mice, however no difference is apparent in the supraspinatus tendon enthesis. In an analysis of mineral content within the calcified zone, micro-CT and Raman spectroscopy reveal that the mineral content in the calcified fibrocartilage of the quadriceps tendon enthesis are similar between wild type and Bsp-/- mice. Mechanical testing of the patellar tendon shows that while the tendons fail under similar loads, the Bsp-/- patellar tendon is 7.5% larger in cross sectional area than wild type tendons, resulting in a 16.5% reduction in failure stress. However, Picrosirius Red staining shows no difference in collagen organization. Data collected here indicate that BSP is present in the calcified fibrocartilage of murine entheses and suggest that BSP plays a regulatory role in this structure, influencing the growth of the calcified fibrocartilage in addition to the weakening of the tendon mechanical properties. Based on the phenotype of the Bsp-/- mouse enthesis, and the known in vitro functional properties of the protein, BSP may be a useful therapeutic molecule in the reattachment of tendons and ligaments to bone.