Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemical Messenger Controls Bone Growth In Embryos, Study Finds

Date:
April 3, 2002
Source:
Washington University School Of Medicine
Summary:
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have for the first time identified a chemical messenger that regulates bone development in the growing embryo. The finding is reported in the April 1 issue of the journal Genes and Development.

St. Louis, April 02, 2002 — Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have for the first time identified a chemical messenger that regulates bone development in the growing embryo. The finding is reported in the April 1 issue of the journal Genes and Development.

Related Articles


“This signaling molecule puts the brakes on the cartilage growth that determines the length of bones,” says David M. Ornitz, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and pharmacology, who led the study. First author on the paper was Zhonghao Liu, a graduate student at the School of Medicine.

The messenger, known as fibroblast growth factor 18 (FGF 18), also appears to regulate the hardening, or ossification, of bone. “This suggests that FGF 18 coordinates the process by which bones lengthen with the process by which they harden,” Ornitz says. “That came as a surprise to us.”

He believes the study may lead to a better understanding of congenital and genetic diseases that cause bone malformation, and perhaps of cancer and bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Ornitz and his research team engineered mouse embryos that lacked genes for FGF 18. These embryos showed increased growth activity in the bones. For example, in embryos that lacked FGF 18, the growth regions, or growth plates, of the femur were 37 to 60 percent broader than those in normal mouse embryos.

This and other changes seen in the embryos lacking FGF 18 mimic the condition of embryos that lack a receptor molecule known as fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor 3. This led Ornitz and his colleagues to conclude that FGF 18 is the messenger molecule for FGF receptor 3.

Receptors are molecules on the surface of cells that trigger some change in the cell when activated by molecules such as hormones or growth factors. Scientists have known for 10 years that FGF receptors are important for skeletal development. For example, mutations in FGF receptor 3 cause achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism in humans. But they did not know which of the 22 known fibroblast growth factors activate the receptors associated with developing bone.

But while embryos that lacked FGF 18 were very similar to embryos that lacked FGF receptor 3, there also was an important difference: The bones of mice lacking FGF 18 didn’t begin to harden as soon as they should have.

“Ossification was delayed by about two days, which is a long time for mouse embryos,” says Ornitz. “That suggests that FGF 18 also influences a second receptor, probably FGF receptor 1 or 2.” Ornitz and his colleagues now are working to identify that second receptor and will soon begin studying how FGF 18 is regulated.

Ornitz’ findings may have future clinical applications. Mutations in FGF receptors have been linked to several bone diseases. Mutations in FGF receptor 3, for example, cause several kinds of dwarfism, and mutations in FGF receptors 1 and 2 cause craniosynostosis syndromes, in which the cranial bones fuse prematurely causing deformities of the skull.

“If we understand the relationship between FGF 18 and its receptors,” says Ornitz, “perhaps someday we can prevent some of the pathology that occurs in diseases such as achondroplasia and craniosynostosis syndromes.”

###

Reference:

Liu Z, Xu J, Colvin JS, Ornitz DM. Coordination of chondrogenesis and osteogenesis by fibroblast growth factor 18. Genes and Development, 16 (7), 859-869, April 1, 2002.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the American Heart Association and Zymogenetics Inc.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University School Of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University School Of Medicine. "Chemical Messenger Controls Bone Growth In Embryos, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020403024959.htm>.
Washington University School Of Medicine. (2002, April 3). Chemical Messenger Controls Bone Growth In Embryos, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020403024959.htm
Washington University School Of Medicine. "Chemical Messenger Controls Bone Growth In Embryos, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020403024959.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins