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Drug News Perspect. 2006 Oct;19(8):445-52.

The promise of canonical Wnt signaling modulators in enhancing bone repair.

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Center for Gene Therapy and Department of Medicine, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, 1430 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


The skeleton is vitally important for support, mechanical function and protection of internal organs. Over the last few decades, the molecular mechanisms by which bones develop and repair themselves have been the subject of intense research throughout the world. Particular attention has been paid to mesenchymal progenitors and the regulation of their differentiation to osteoblasts, the cells that build and repair bone. One of the major findings of these studies is that positive signaling by the canonical wingless (Wnt) pathway in mesenchymal progenitor cells is critical for the differentiation of the progenitors into osteoblasts. The subject of this review focuses on how perturbations of the Wnt pathway can adversely affect osteogenesis in disease and also, how pharmaceutical modulators of the Wnt pathway may be employed in the future to inhibit degenerative diseases of the bone and enhance repair.

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