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Zebra fish fins help Oregon researchers gain insight into bone regeneration
Date:1/30/2014

p of the regrowing fin then maintains a pool of dividing bone progenitor cells until the fin is fully replaced. The job of second pathway, BMP, is to convert the progenitor cells back into mature bone that forms the characteristic bony rays of a fish's fins. The authors show that both Wnt and BMP are needed to complete the process and describe how they engage in a cellular tug of war to balance their opposing roles.

Mammals, including humans, have these same pathways, and defects in them are associated with various human bone diseases, said the paper's lead author Scott Stewart, an associate member of the UO Institute of Molecular Biology.

Manipulating the two pathways could lead to new therapies, he said. "Striking that balance involves manipulating these pathways in the correct sequence, Wnt and then BMP," he said. "They have different roles and must act in a specific order."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows for the use of recombinant BMP to encourage bone-growth following some surgical procedures. However, Stankunas said, the treatment is not always effective. The new findings, he said, suggests that too much BMP may upset the optimum balance of Wnt and BMP signaling, and that alternative approaches may be more successful.

"Our research suggests that enhancing human bone repair or even inducing bone regeneration isn't a ridiculous idea," he said. "As we discover the cellular and molecular roles of the signals in zebra fish and pinpoint the missing network connections in mammals, maybe we could coax human bones to repair themselves equally as well."


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Contact: Jim Barlow
jebarlow@uoregon.edu
541-346-3481
University of Oregon
Source:Eurekalert

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