Bone Morphogenetic Proteins and Their Antagonists in Skin and Hair Follicle Biology

J Invest Dermatol. 2003 Jan;120(1):36-47. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.2003.12002.x.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) are members of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily regulating a large variety of biologic responses in many different cells and tissues during embryonic development and postnatal life. BMP exert their biologic effects via binding to two types of serine/threonine kinase BMP receptors, activation of which leads to phosphorylation and translocation into the nucleus of intracellular signaling molecules, including Smad1, Smad5, and Smad8 ("canonical" BMP signaling pathway). BMP effects are also mediated by activation of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway ("noncanonical" BMP Signaling pathway). BMP activity is regulated by diffusible BMP antagonists that prevent BMP interactions with BMP receptors thus modulating BMP effects in tissues. During skin development, BMPs its receptors and antagonists show stringent spatiotemporal expressions patterns to achieve proper regulation of cell proliferation and differentiation in the epidermis and in the hair follicle. In normal postnatal skin, BMP are involved in the control of epidermal homeostasis, hair follicle growth, and melanogenesis. Furthermore, BMP are implicated in a variety of pathobiologic processes in skin, including wound healing, psoriasis, and carcinogenesis. Therefore, BMPs represent new important players in the molecular network regulating homeostasis in normal and diseased skin. Pharmacologic modulation of BMP signaling may be used as a new approach for managing skin and hair disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Hair Diseases / drug therapy
  • Hair Follicle / growth & development*
  • Keratinocytes / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology
  • Receptors, Growth Factor*
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / embryology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Wound Healing


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors