Novel variant in Sp7/Osx associated with recessive osteogenesis imperfecta with bone fragility and hearing impairment

Melissa Fiscaletti, Andrew Biggin, Bruce Bennetts, Karen Wong, Julie N. Briody, Verity Pacey, Catherine Birman, Craig Munns

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a connective tissue disorder characterized by low bone density and recurrent fractures with a wide genotypic and phenotypic spectrum. Common features include short stature, opalescent teeth, blue sclerae and hearing impairment. The majority (>90%) of patients with OI have autosomal dominant variants in COL1A1/COL1A2, which lead to defects in type 1 collagen. More recently, numerous recessive variants involving other genes have also been identified. Sp7/Osx gene, is a protein coding gene that encodes a zinc finger transcription factor, osterix, which is a member of the Sp subfamily of sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins. Osterix is expressed primarily by osteoblasts and has been shown to be vital for bone formation and bone homeostasis by promoting osteoblast differentiation and maturation. In animal models, Sp7/Osx has also been shown to regulate biomineralization of otoliths, calcium carbonate structures found in the inner ear of vertebrates. Until recently, only one report of a boy with an Sp7/Osx pathogenic variant presenting with bone fragility, limb deformities and normal hearing has been described in the literature. We have identified a novel Sp7/Osx variant in another sibship that presented with osteoporosis, low-trauma fractures and short stature. Progressive moderate-to-severe and severe-to-profound hearing loss secondary to otospongiosis and poor mineralization of ossicles and petrous temporal bone was also noted in two of the siblings. A homozygous pathogenic variant in exon 2 of the Sp7/Osx gene was found in all affected relatives; c.946C>T (p.Arg316Cys). Bone biopsies in the proband and his male sibling revealed significant cortical porosity and high trabecular bone turnover. This is the second report to describe children with OI associated with an Sp7/Osx variant. However, it is the first to describe the bone histomorphometry associated with this disorder and identifies a significant hearing loss as a potential feature in this OI subtype. Early audiology screening in these children is therefore warranted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)66-75
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - May 2018


    • Osteogenesis imperfecta
    • SP7/Osx
    • Osterix
    • Fractures
    • Hearing impairment


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