The wonders of BMP9: From mesenchymal stem cell differentiation, angiogenesis, neurogenesis, tumorigenesis, and metabolism to regenerative medicine

Genes Dis. 2019 Jul 24;6(3):201-223. doi: 10.1016/j.gendis.2019.07.003. eCollection 2019 Sep.


Although bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) initially showed effective induction of ectopic bone growth in muscle, it has since been determined that these proteins, as members of the TGF-β superfamily, play a diverse and critical array of biological roles. These roles include regulating skeletal and bone formation, angiogenesis, and development and homeostasis of multiple organ systems. Disruptions of the members of the TGF-β/BMP superfamily result in severe skeletal and extra-skeletal irregularities, suggesting high therapeutic potential from understanding this family of BMP proteins. Although it was once one of the least characterized BMPs, BMP9 has revealed itself to have the highest osteogenic potential across numerous experiments both in vitro and in vivo, with recent studies suggesting that the exceptional potency of BMP9 may result from unique signaling pathways that differentiate it from other BMPs. The effectiveness of BMP9 in inducing bone formation was recently revealed in promising experiments that demonstrated efficacy in the repair of critical sized cranial defects as well as compatibility with bone-inducing bio-implants, revealing the great translational promise of BMP9. Furthermore, emerging evidence indicates that, besides its osteogenic activity, BMP9 exerts a broad range of biological functions, including stem cell differentiation, angiogenesis, neurogenesis, tumorigenesis, and metabolism. This review aims to summarize our current understanding of BMP9 across biology and the body.

Keywords: Adipogenesis; BMP9/GDF2; Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs); Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); Metabolism; Osteogenesis; Regenerative medicine; Tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Review