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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Mar;1192:257-68. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05307.x.

Alteration of Notch signaling in skeletal development and disease.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.


Notch signaling is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism for specifying and regulating organogenesis and tissue renewal. Human and mouse genetic studies have demonstrated mutations in many components of the Notch signaling pathway that cause skeletal patterning defects. More recently, the in vivo effects of Notch signaling on osteoblast specification, proliferation, and differentiation have been demonstrated in addition to its regulation of osteoclast activity. However, while our understanding of canonical Notch signaling in skeletal biology is rapidly evolving, the role of noncanonical Notch signaling is still poorly understood. In a pathologic context, aberration of Notch signaling is also associated with osteosarcoma. These studies raise the question of how Notch may interact with other signaling pathways, such as Wnt. Finally, manipulation of Notch signaling for bone-related diseases remains complex because of the temporal and context-dependent nature of Notch signaling during mesenchymal stem cell and osteoblast differentiation.

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