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Br J Pharmacol. 2014 Aug;171(15):3620-32. doi: 10.1111/bph.12724.

Bone morphogenetic proteins and their antagonists: current and emerging clinical uses.

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  • 1Centre for Experimental Medicine, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are members of the TGFβ superfamily of secreted cysteine knot proteins that includes TGFβ1, nodal, activins and inhibins. BMPs were first discovered by Urist in the 1960s when he showed that implantation of demineralized bone into intramuscular tissue of rabbits induced bone and cartilage formation. Since this seminal discovery, BMPs have also been shown to play key roles in several other biological processes, including limb, kidney, skin, hair and neuronal development, as well as maintaining vascular homeostasis. The multifunctional effects of BMPs make them attractive targets for the treatment of several pathologies, including bone disorders, kidney and lung fibrosis, and cancer. This review will summarize current knowledge on the BMP signalling pathway and critically evaluate the potential of recombinant BMPs as pharmacological agents for the treatment of bone repair and tissue fibrosis in patients.

© 2014 The British Pharmacological Society.


bone morphogenetic protein; fibrosis; fracture; gremlin; inhibitors; scarring; skeleton

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