Research highlight

Keeping bone from forming in the wrong place

Nature Medicine

April 4, 2011

Activators of a certain nuclear receptor prevent heterotopic ossification ― the formation of bone within soft tissues, such as the skin, after surgery or trauma ― in mice reports a paper published online in Nature Medicine this week.

Diseases such as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) are characterized by heterotopic ossification. Patients with FOP often carry a mutation in a gene known as ALK2, and mice genetically modified to carry a related mutation show heterotopic ossification. Using this mouse model, Masahiro Iwamoto and colleagues found that retinoic acid receptor-gamma agonists prevent the abnormal bone formation, raising the possibility that this strategy may also be effective against heterotopic ossification in humans.

doi: 10.1038/nm.2334

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