Conserved signaling pathways underlying heterotopic ossification

Chen Kan, Lijun Chen, Yangyang Hu, Na Ding, Haimei Lu, Yuyun Li, John A. Kessler, Lixin Kan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Heterotopic ossification (HO), a serious disorder of extra-skeletal bone formation, occurs as a common complication of trauma or in rare genetic disorders. Many conserved signaling pathways have been implicated in HO; however, the exact underlying molecular mechanisms for many forms of HO are still unclear. The emerging picture is that dysregulation of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling plays a central role in the process, but that other conserved signaling pathways, such as Hedgehog (HH), Wnt/β-catenin and Fibroblast growth factors (FGF), are also involved, either through cross-talk with BMP signaling or through other independent mechanisms. Deep understanding of the conserved signaling pathways is necessary for the effective prevention and treatment of HO. In this review, we update and integrate recent progress in this area. Hopefully, our discussion will point to novel promising, druggable loci for further translational research and successful clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)
  • Conserved signaling pathways
  • Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)
  • Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP)
  • Hedgehog (HH)
  • Heterotopic ossification (HO)
  • Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)
  • Wnt/β-catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


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