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Mech Dev. 1998 Feb;71(1-2):65-76.

Recapitulation of signals regulating embryonic bone formation during postnatal growth and in fracture repair.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


A number of proteins have recently been identified which play roles in regulating bone development. One important example is Indian hedgehog (Ihh) which is secreted by the prehyprtrophic chondrocytes. Ihh acts as an activator of a second secreted factor, parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), which, in turn, negatively regulates the rate of chondrocyte differentiation. Here we examine the expression of these genes and their molecular targets during different stages of bone development. In addition to regulating PTHrP expression in the perichondrium, we find evidence that Ihh may also act on the chondrocytes themselves at particular stages. As bone growth continues postnatally in mammals and the developmental process is reactivated during fracture repair, understanding the molecular basis regulating bone development is of medical relevance. We find that the same molecules that regulate embryonic endochondral ossification are also expressed during postnatal bone growth and fracture healing, suggesting that these processes are controlled by similar mechanisms.

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