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Bone. 1997 Jul;21(1):23-30.

Expression and localization of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and BMP receptors in ossification of the ligamentum flavum.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Kagoshima University, Japan.


To clarify the pathogenesis of ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF), we examined the expression and localization of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and their receptors (BMPRs) in the ligamentum flavum of the patients with OLF by immunohistochemical staining and compared them with staining patterns in control patients. The BMPRs appeared extensively in mature and immature chondrocytes around the calcified zone and in spindle-shaped cells and round cells in the remote part from ossified foci in examined tissue of OLF. The ligands for BMPRs, BMP-2/-4 and osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1)/BMP-7, colocalized in OLF patients. In the control cases, expression of BMPs and BMPRs was observed around the calcified zone at the insertion of the ligamentum flavum to the bone, and limited expression was found in the smaller range. Thus, the expression profile of BMPs and BMPRs in OLF patients was entirely different from the control patients, suggesting that BMPs may be involved in promoting endochondral ossification at ectopic ossification sites in OLF, and that ossification activity is continuous in these patients.

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