Cranial sutures: a brief review

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2008 Apr;121(4):170e-178e. doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000304441.99483.97.


Craniosynostosis, or the premature fusion of one or more cranial sutures, is a relatively common congenital defect that causes a number of morphologic and functional abnormalities. With advances in genetics and molecular biology, research of craniosynostosis has progressed from describing gross abnormalities to understanding the molecular interactions that underlie these cranial deformities. Animal models have been extremely valuable in improving our comprehension of human craniofacial morphogenesis, primarily by human genetic linkage analysis and the development of knock-out animals. This article provides a brief review of perisutural tissue interactions, embryonic origins, signaling molecules and their receptors, and transcription factors in maintaining the delicate balance between proliferation and differentiation of cells within the suture complex that determines suture fate. Finally, this article discusses the potential implications for developing novel therapies for craniosynostosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Craniosynostoses / embryology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Skull / embryology
  • Suture Techniques*