, Volume 32, Issue 10, pp 627-632

Dura mater secretes soluble heparin-binding factors required for cranial suture morphogenesis

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Cranial sutures play a critical role in calvarial morphogenesis, serving as bone growth centers during skull enlargement. Defective suture morphogenesis, resulting in premature osseous obliteration of sutures and their failure to function appropriately, causes severe craniofacial anomalies. Previously published data demonstrated osseous obliteration of coronal suturesin vitro in the absence of dura mater and the rescue of sutures from osseous obliteration in rudiments cocultured with dura mater on the opposite sides of 0.45-μm polycarbonate filters. With thisin vitro culture system, experiments were designed to examine the nature of the soluble signal secreted by dura mater, required for maintaining intact sutures. The signal remained active in conditioned medium produced from dura mater, which was capable of rescuing coronal sutures from osseous obliteration in calvaria cultured without dura mater. When conditioned medium was segregated into heparin-binding and non-heparin-binding fractions, the signal capable of maintaining intact coronal sutures cosegregated with the heparin-binding component and remained functional in the absence of the non-heparin-binding component of conditioned medium. Evidence indicates that soluble, heparin-binding factors secreted by the dura mater act as osteoinhibitory signals at the suture site.