Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(2):192-200. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.192 This issue

Short Research Communication

BMP-13 Emerges as a Potential Inhibitor of Bone Formation

Bojiang Shen1 ✉, Divya Bhargav1, Aiqun Wei1, Lisa A Williams1, Helen Tao2, David D F Ma2, Ashish D Diwan1

1. Orthopaedic Research Institute and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, St George Hospital, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
2. Blood Stem Cell and Cancer Research Unit, Department of Haematology, St. Vincent's Hospital Sydney, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

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Shen B, Bhargav D, Wei A, Williams LA, Tao H, Ma DDF, Diwan AD. BMP-13 Emerges as a Potential Inhibitor of Bone Formation. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(2):192-200. doi:10.7150/ijbs.5.192. Available from

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Bone morphogenetic protein-13 (BMP-13) plays an important role in skeletal development. In the light of a recent report that mutations in the BMP-13 gene are associated with spine vertebral fusion in Klippel-Feil syndrome, we hypothesized that BMP-13 signaling is crucial for regulating embryonic endochondral ossification. In this study, we found that BMP-13 inhibited the osteogenic differentiation of human bone marrow multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (BM MSCs) in vitro. The endogenous BMP-13 gene expression in MSCs was examined under expansion conditions. The MSCs were then induced to differentiate into osteoblasts in osteo-inductive medium containing exogenous BMP-13. Gene expression was analysed by real-time PCR. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) expression and activity, proteoglycan (PG) synthesis and matrix mineralization were assessed by cytological staining or ALP assay. Results showed that endogenous BMP-13 mRNA expression was higher than BMP-2 or -7 during MSC growth. BMP-13 supplementation strongly inhibited matrix mineralization and ALP activity of osteogenic differentiated MSCs, yet increased PG synthesis under the same conditions. In conclusion, BMP-13 inhibited osteogenic differentiation of MSCs, implying that functional mutations or deficiency of BMP-13 may allow excess bone formation. Our finding provides an insight into the molecular mechanisms and the therapeutic potential of BMP-13 in restricting pathological bone formation.

Keywords: BMP-13, GDF6, CDMP-2, osteogenic differentiation, mesenchymal stromal cells