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

Shailesh Agarwal, Shawn J. Loder, Christopher Breuler, John Li, David Cholok, Cameron Brownley, Jonathan Peterson, Hsiao H. Hsieh, James Drake, Kavitha Ranganathan, Yashar S. Niknafs, Wenzhong Xiao, Shuli Li, Ravindra Kumar, Ronald Tompkins, Michael T. Longaker, Thomas A. Davis, Paul B. Yu, Yuji Mishina, Benjamin Levi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


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).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1974-1987
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • BMP receptors
  • BMP signaling
  • stem cells


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