Loss of murine Gfi1 causes neutropenia and induces osteoporosis depending on the pathogen load and systemic inflammation


  • S. Geissler
  • M. Textor
  • S. Stumpp
  • S. Seitz
  • A. Lekaj
  • S. Brunk
  • S. Klaassen
  • T. Schinke
  • C. Klein
  • S. Mundlos
  • U. Kornak
  • J. Kühnisch


  • PLoS ONE


  • PLoS ONE 13 (6): e0198510


  • Gfi1 is a key molecule in hematopoietic lineage development and mutations in GFI1 cause severe congenital neutropenia (SCN). Neutropenia is associated with low bone mass, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly characterized. Using Gfi1 knock-out mice (Gfi1-ko/ko) as SCN model, we studied the relationship between neutropenia and bone mass upon different pathogen load conditions. Our analysis reveals that Gfi1-ko/ko mice kept under strict specific pathogen free (SPF) conditions demonstrate normal bone mass and survival. However, Gfi1-ko/ko mice with early (nonSPF) or late (SPF+nonSPF) pathogen exposure develop low bone mass. Gfi1-ko/ko mice demonstrate a striking rise of systemic inflammatory markers according to elevated pathogen exposure and reduced bone mass. Elevated inflammatory cytokines include for instance Il-1b, Il-6, and Tnf-alpha that regulate osteoclast development. We conclude that low bone mass, due to low neutrophil counts, is caused by the degree of systemic inflammation promoting osteoclastogenesis.