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Bonekey Rep. 2015 Jun 10;4:711. doi: 10.1038/bonekey.2015.80. eCollection 2015.

Focus on the p38 MAPK signaling pathway in bone development and maintenance.

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Service of Bone Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine Specialties, University Hospital of Geneva , Geneva, Switzerland.


The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway can be activated in response to a wide range of extracellular signals. As a consequence, it can generate many different biological effects that depend on the stimulus and on the activated cell type. Therefore, this pathway has been found to regulate many aspects of tissue development and homeostasis. Recent work with the aid of genetically modified mice has highlighted the physiological functions of this pathway in skeletogenesis and postnatal bone maintenance. In this review, emphasis is given to the roles of the p38 MAPK pathway in chondrocyte, osteoblast and osteoclast biology. In particular, we describe the molecular mechanisms of p38 MAPK activation and downstream targets. The requirement of this pathway in physiological bone development and homeostasis is demonstrated by the ability of p38 MAPK to regulate master transcription factors controlling geneses and functions of chondrocytes, osteoblasts and osteoclasts.

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