Recent discoveries in humans and mice have revealed that the Wnt (Wingless and Int-1) signaling pathway is responsible for a complex array of functions in maintaining bone homeostasis. The Wnt proteins are key modulators of mesenchymal lineage specification and regulate most aspects of osteoblast physiology and postnatal bone acquisition by controlling the differentiation and activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Initial reports have indicated that activators of Wnt signaling are potent promoters of osteogenesis; however, systemic hyperactivation of the canonical Wnt pathway could potentially accelerate neoplastic transformation and subsequent tumor growth. Alternatively, recent investigations of natural soluble antagonists of Wnt signaling in bone suggest the possibilities of bone-specific therapies targeting the negative regulators of Wnt pathway, especially sclerostin. With this new knowledge, novel pharmacologic interventions that alter Wnt signaling are being evaluated for the management of osteoporosis. In this article, we briefly describe the Wnt signaling elements, their characterized role in bone, and summarize the current knowledge on the potential to enhance bone formation through the manipulation of Wnt signaling antagonists.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism