The small leucine-rich proteoglycan biglycan modulates BMP-4-induced osteoblast differentiation

Xiao Dong Chen, Larry W. Fisher, Pamela Gehron Robey, Marian F. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


Biglycan (bgn) is a small leucine-rich proteoglycan enriched in extracellular matrices of skeletal tissues. Bgn-deficient mice develop age-related osteopenia with a phenotype that resembles osteoporosis and premature arthritis. In the present study, we have examined the differentiation of bgn-deficient osteoblasts from neonatal murine calvariae and found that the absence of bgn caused less BMP-4 binding, which reduced the sensitivity of osteoblasts to BMP-4 stimulation. The loss of sensitivity resulted in a reduction of Cbfa1 expression, which ultimately led to a defect in the differentiation of osteoblasts. However, the response of bgn-deficient osteoblasts to BMP-4 was completely rescued by reintroduction of biglycan by viral transfection. We propose that biglycan modulates BMP-4-induced signaling to control osteoblast differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)948-958
Number of pages11
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Microenvironment
  • Osteoblastic progenitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology


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