Propeptide’s normal role in healthy bone IDed for the first time, shown to help bone development

in Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Health & Medicine, News Releases
March 2nd, 2010

Contact: Jackie Rubin, 617/638-4892 |

(Boston) – Dr. Philip Trackman, Professor of Periodontology & Oral Biology at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM), and his team identified for the first time the normal role of the lysyl oxidase propeptide (LOX-PP) in healthy bone formation.

The important finding is that LOX-PP naturally interferes with the effects of an important bone growth factor, effectively slowing the growth of pre-osteoblasts, cells that will ultimately make bone. Because these cells cannot multiply and make bone at the same time, the researchers think LOX-PP helps pre-osteoblasts stop growing to allow for further development so they can make bone.

“Bone formation is a multi-step process and the control of each phase, regulated by growth factors and apparently also by LOX-PP, is critical,” Dr. Trackman says.

Dr. Trackman and colleagues have already made huge breakthroughs studying how LOX-PP prevents tumor growth and growth of tumor cells that can metastasize to bone. Growth factors made by tumor cells and by normal bone cells permit these different cells to “talk” to each other, encouraging tumors to grow in the bone.

“By interfering with this communication, we think LOX-PP can treat or prevent metastasis,” Dr. Trackman says.

Research contributors include Dr. Siddharth Vora, Ph.D. from GSDM and the lab of Dr. Matthew Nugent in BU School of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry. The paper, Lysyl Oxidase Propeptide Inhibits FGF-2-induced Signaling and Proliferation of Osteoblasts, appears in the March 5 Journal of Biological Chemistry and is available online at

The mission of Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine is to provide excellent education to dental professionals throughout their careers; to shape the future of dental medicine and dental education through research; to offer excellent health care services to the community; to participate in community activities; and to foster a respectful and supportive environment.

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