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Chin J Physiol. 2019 Jan-Feb;62(1):2-10. doi: 10.4103/CJP.CJP_11_19.

Fibroblast growth factors: Potential novel targets for regenerative therapy of osteoarthritis.

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Department and Graduate Institute of Aquaculture, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Graduate Institute of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine; Center for Molecular Medicine; Cancer Biology and Drug Discovery Ph.D. Program, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.
Institute of Molecular Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.
Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disorder and is the leading cause of disability of people, which negatively impact people's physical and mental health. Although OA causes great socioeconomic burden and individual suffering, no effective treatment options are provided so far. This is partially resulted from poor regenerative activity of articular cartilage and our incomplete understanding of the underlying mechanism of OA. Traditional drug therapies such as acetaminophen and opioids are effective in relieving pain but do not reverse cartilage damage and are often associated with adverse events. Therefore, it is necessary to find effective OA drugs. In recent years, novel regenerative therapies have received much attention because they can effectively promote tissue repair and regeneration. The fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling has been suggested to involve in cartilage homeostasis for decades. The current research shows that sprifermin/recombinant FGF18 significantly reduces the loss of cartilage thickness and volume without serious side effects, thus warrants a continued research for potential new medications of OA. This review mainly highlights the current research progress on FGFs and FGF receptors as a potential therapeutic target for OA.


Chondrocytes; fibroblast growth factor receptor; fibroblast growth factors; joint; osteoarthritis

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