Bone morphogenetic proteins: an update on basic biology and clinical relevance.
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J Orthop Res 17 (2): 269-78 (1999)

The regeneration of bone is a remarkable, complex physiological process, and BMPs are a formidable clinical tool to promote its regeneration. By defining roles played by BMPs in developmental biology and bone regeneration, significant progress has been made to identify cell-signaling molecules and their regulators. For example, the regulators of BMPs that include noggin, chordin, cerberus, dan, and gremlin may be harnessed as therapies to offset calcification encountered after total hip arthroplasties. Furthermore, exploiting BMPs and Smads may generate new therapeutic options for bone repair. Another compelling clinical consideration is the trans-acting factor osteoblast-specific factor-2, which can promote osteoblast differentiation. Moreover, the affiliation of osteoblast-specific factor-2 with heritable disorders merits exploration. A recognized daunting challenge includes a carrier/delivery system for the powerful morphogenetic therapeutic tools, as well as osteoprogenitor cells and intracellular transduction and transcriptional factors. In addition, the long-term effects of administering superphysiological doses of rhBMPs to patients must be assessed systematically. A new generation carrier/delivery system may be the answer to offset dosing liabilities as well as to provide residence for exogenous, BMP-receptive osteoprogenitor cells (111,112). The areas highlighted in this review offer fertile territory for thought and research to develop rational clinical treatments to promote bone regeneration and to understand some of the biological roles of BMPs.
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