Strategic Targeting of Multiple BMP Receptors Prevents Trauma-Induced Heterotopic Ossification

Mol Ther. 2017 Aug 2;25(8):1974-1987. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2017.01.008. Epub 2017 Jul 15.


Trauma-induced heterotopic ossification (tHO) is a condition of pathologic wound healing, defined by the progressive formation of ectopic bone in soft tissue following severe burns or trauma. Because previous studies have shown that genetic variants of HO, such as fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), are caused by hyperactivating mutations of the type I bone morphogenetic protein receptor (T1-BMPR) ACVR1/ALK2, studies evaluating therapies for HO have been directed primarily toward drugs for this specific receptor. However, patients with tHO do not carry known T1-BMPR mutations. Here we show that, although BMP signaling is required for tHO, no single T1-BMPR (ACVR1/ALK2, BMPR1a/ALK3, or BMPR1b/ALK6) alone is necessary for this disease, suggesting that these receptors have functional redundancy in the setting of tHO. By utilizing two different classes of BMP signaling inhibitors, we developed a translational approach to treatment, integrating treatment choice with existing diagnostic options. Our treatment paradigm balances either immediate therapy with reduced risk for adverse effects (Alk3-Fc) or delayed therapy with improved patient selection but greater risk for adverse effects (LDN-212854).

Keywords: BMP receptors; BMP signaling; stem cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activin Receptors, Type I / deficiency
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors / genetics*
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type I / deficiency
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Gene Targeting*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / etiology*
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / pathology*
  • Ossification, Heterotopic / prevention & control
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Ligands
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • ACVR1 protein, human
  • Activin Receptors, Type I
  • BMPR1A protein, human
  • BMPR1B protein, human
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors, Type I