Heterotopic ossifcation has some nerve

Elizabeth Salisbury, Corinne Sonnet, Michael Heggeness, Alan R. Davis, Elizabeth Olmsted-Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Heterotopic ossifcation, defned as the formation of bone in abnormal anatomic locations, can be clinically insignifcant or devastating and debilitating, depending on the site and duration of new bone formation. Tere are many causes of heterotopic ossifcation (HO), including soft tissue trauma, central nervous system injury, vasculopathies, arthropathies, and inheritance. One of the least understood components of HO is the interaction of the peripheral nervous system with the induction of this process. Recent work has shown that, upon traumatic injury, a cascade of events termed neurogenic infammation is initiated, which involves the release of neuropeptides, such as substance P and calcitonin gene related peptide. Release of these peptides ultimately leads to the recruitment of activated platelets, mast cells, and neutrophils to the injury site. Tese cells appear to be involved with both remodeling of the nerve, as well as potentially recruiting additional cells from the bone marrow to the injury site. Further, sensory neurons stimulated at the injury site relay local information to the brain, which can then redirect neuroendocrine signaling in the hypothalamus towards repair of the injured site. While numerous studies have highlighted the important role of nerve-derived signals, both central and peripheral, in the regulation of normal bone remodeling of the skeleton,1 this review focuses on the role of the local, peripheral nerves in the formation of heterotopic bone. We concentrate on the manner in which local changes in bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) expression contribute to a cascade of events within the peripheral nerves, both sensory and sympathetic, in the immediate area of HO formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-324
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Reviews in Eukaryotic Gene Expression
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • BMP2
  • Heterotopic ossifcation
  • Neurogenic infammation
  • Peripheral nervous system
  • Sensory
  • Sympathetic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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