Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




A fracture that does not unite in nine months is defined as nonunion. Nonunion is common in fragmented fractures and large bone defects where vascularization is impaired. The distal third of the tibia, the scaphoid bone or the talus fractures are furthermore prone to nonunion. Open fractures and spinal fusion cases also need special monitoring for healing. Bone tissue regeneration can be attained by autografts, allografts, xenografts and synthetic materials, however their limited availability and the increased surgical time as well as the donor site morbidity of autograft use, and lower probability of success, increased costs and disease transmission and immunological reaction probability of allografts oblige us to find better solutions and new grafts to overcome the cons. A proper biomaterial for regeneration should be osteoinductive, osteoconductive, biocompatible and mechanically suitable. Cytokine therapy, where growth factors are introduced either exogenously or triggered endogenously, is one of the commonly used method in bone tissue engineering. Transforming growth factor ß (TGFß) superfamily, which can be divided structurally into two groups as bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), growth differentiation factors (GDFs) and TGFß, activin, Nodal branch, Mullerian hormone, are known to be produced by osteoblasts and other bone cells and present already in bone matrix abundantly, to take roles in bone homeostasis. BMP family, as the biggest subfamily of TGFß superfamily, is also reported to be the most effective growth factors in bone and development, which makes them one of the most popular cytokines used in bone regeneration. Complications depending on the excess use of growth factors, and pleiotropic functions of BMPs are however the main reasons of why they should be approached with care. In this review, the Smad dependent signaling pathways of TGFß and BMP families and their relations and the applications in preclinical and clinical studies will be briefly summarized.


BMP, TGFß, bone regeneration, release, signaling, cytokine

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