Open Access
Role of the Wnt signaling pathway in bone and tooth
Masato Tamura1,Eiji Nemoto1,Mari M Sato1,Aiko Nakashima1,Hidetoshi Shimauchi1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Graduate School of Dental Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.
DOI: 10.2741/E201 Volume 2 Issue 4, pp.1405-1413
Published: 01 June 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular mechanism in bone cells)

Signaling by the Wnt plays a central role in many processes during embryonic development and adult homeostasis. At least 19 types of Wnts, several families of secreted antagonists and multiple receptors have been identified. Two distinct Wnt signaling pathways, the canonical pathway and the noncanonical pathway have been described. Functional studies and experimental analysis of relevant animal models confirmed the effects of Wnt on regulation of developing mineralized tissue formation and adult homeostasis. In osteoblasts, the canonical Wnt pathway modulates differentiation, proliferation and mineralization, while it blocks apoptosis and osteoclastogenesis by increasing osteoprotegerin. Functional crosstalk between Wnt and bone morphogenetic protein signaling during osteoblastic differentiation has been reported. Recently, non-canonical Wnt signaling was shown to play a role in bone formation. The Wnt signaling pathway also plays an important role not only in tooth formation but also in differentiation and proliferation of cementoblasts and odontoblasts in the tooth. This present review provides an overview of progress in elucidating the role of Wnt signaling pathways in bone and tooth and the resulting possibilities for therapeutic potential.

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Masato Tamura, Eiji Nemoto, Mari M Sato, Aiko Nakashima, Hidetoshi Shimauchi. Role of the Wnt signaling pathway in bone and tooth. Frontiers in Bioscience-Elite. 2010. 2(4); 1405-1413.