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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2009 Dec;467(12):3183-9. doi: 10.1007/s11999-009-1009-1. Epub 2009 Aug 11.

Are BMPs involved in normal nerve and following transection?: a pilot study.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-174 Edobashi, Tsu, Mie 514-8507, Japan.


Bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs) may have neurotrophic functions but there is limited evidence of these functions in the peripheral nervous system. We therefore investigated the expression of BMPs and BMP receptors (BMPRs) in normal and injured peripheral nerves. In 10 of 15 Sprague-Dawley rats, a 3-mm segment of sciatic nerve was resected at the trifurcation in the thigh. One day (n = 5) and 7 days (n = 5) after transection, proximal and distal stumps were removed and immunohistochemically analyzed for BMP-2, -7, BMPR-1A, -1B, and -2. The other five animals served as normal controls. In normal nerves, BMP-2 expression was localized at Ranvier's node, and BMP-7 and BMPR-1B were expressed in several axon-Schwann cell units, whereas other receptors were not expressed. After nerve transection, BMP-7 expression was upregulated at both proximal and distal stumps along with Schwann cell columns during Wallerian degeneration. BMPRs were also upregulated compared with the normal nerve. The upregulation in BMP expression after nerve transection suggests that BMPs may play a role in the healing response of the peripheral nerve.

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