Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are polypeptides discovered by Marshall Urist in 1965 and later defined by his co-workers as multifunctional cytokines involved in osteoinduction. They are members of the transforming growth factor-b superfamily with the exception of the BMP-1. Till now at least 20 BMPs have been identified and studied, but only BMP-2, 4 and 7 have been able in vitro to stimulate the entire process of stem cell differentiation into osteoblastic mature cells.
After in vitro studies BMPs have been tested in preclinical and clinical studies, showing their definite potential in osteoinduction and have been approved for clinical use in open fracture of long bones, non-unions and vertebral arthrodesis. But more clinical use of these molecules is under investigation and the possibility of using gene therapy in selected pathologies seems the most appealing.
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