The PTHrP–Ihh Feedback Loop in the Embryonic Growth Plate Allows PTHrP to Control Hypertrophy and Ihh to Regulate Proliferation
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Growth plate and long bone development is governed by biochemical signaling pathways of which the PTHrP–Ihh system is the best known. Other factors, such as BMPs, FGFs and mechanical loading, may interact with this system. This study aims at elucidating the relative importance of PTHrP and Ihh for controlling proliferation, and hypertrophy in fetal growth plate cartilage. We assessed the question why reduced Ihh expression leads to more pronounced effects on the number of non-hypertrophic cells and total bone formation, compared to PTHrP down-regulation.
Using few basic equations, constituted from literature data, this paper shows how the PTHrP–Ihh feedback system can control different aspects of tissue differentiation at distinct locations. In particular, it is shown that (mechanical or biochemical) perturbations will affect proliferation via Ihh-related parameters, whereas changes in PTHrP-related parameters selectively interact with hypertrophy. This is contra-intuitive, since PTHrP acts to keep cells proliferating. In this context, the critical PTHrP level for keeping cells proliferating has been reconsidered. In addition, an explanation is provided for the aforementioned difference in effect between reduced Ihh and PTHrP expression.
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