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Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2016 Apr;12(4):203-21. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2016.12. Epub 2016 Feb 19.

BMP signalling in skeletal development, disease and repair.

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Department of Developmental Biology, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, 188 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Since the identification in 1988 of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) as a potent inducer of bone and cartilage formation, BMP superfamily signalling has become one of the most heavily investigated topics in vertebrate skeletal biology. Whereas a large part of this research has focused on the roles of BMP2, BMP4 and BMP7 in the formation and repair of endochondral bone, a large number of BMP superfamily molecules have now been implicated in almost all aspects of bone, cartilage and joint biology. As modulating BMP signalling is currently a major therapeutic target, our rapidly expanding knowledge of how BMP superfamily signalling affects most tissue types of the skeletal system creates enormous potential to translate basic research findings into successful clinical therapies that improve bone mass or quality, ameliorate diseases of skeletal overgrowth, and repair damage to bone and joints. This Review examines the genetic evidence implicating BMP superfamily signalling in vertebrate bone and joint development, discusses a selection of human skeletal disorders associated with altered BMP signalling and summarizes the status of modulating the BMP pathway as a therapeutic target for skeletal trauma and disease.

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