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Bone. 2010 Jul;47(1):65-73. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2010.03.012. Epub 2010 Mar 27.

Bone morphogenetic protein 2 stimulates endochondral ossification by regulating periosteal cell fate during bone repair.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco General Hospital, 2550 23rd St., San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.


Bone repair depends on the coordinated action of numerous growth factors and cytokines to stimulate new skeletal tissue formation. Among all the growth factors involved in bone repair, Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are the only molecules now used therapeutically to enhance healing. Although BMPs are known as strong bone inducers, their role in initiating skeletal repair is not entirely elucidated. The aim of this study was to define the role of BMP2 during the early stages of bone regeneration and more specifically in regulating the fate of skeletal progenitors. During healing of non-stabilized fractures via endochondral ossification, exogenous BMP2 increased the deposition and resorption of cartilage and bone, which was correlated with a stimulation of osteoclastogenesis but not angiogenesis in the early phase of repair. During healing of stabilized fractures, which normally occurs via intramembranous ossification, exogenous BMP2 induced cartilage formation suggesting a role in regulating cell fate decisions. Specifically, the periosteum was found to be a target of exogenous BMP2 as shown by activation of the BMP pathway in this tissue. Using cell lineage analyses, we further show that BMP2 can direct cell differentiation towards the chondrogenic lineage within the periosteum but not the endosteum, indicating that skeletal progenitors within periosteum and endosteum respond differently to BMP signals. In conclusion, BMP2 plays an important role in the early stages of repair by recruiting local sources of skeletal progenitors within periosteum and endosteum and by determining their differentiation towards the chondrogenic and osteogenic lineages.

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