Indexed on: 14 Nov '14Published on: 14 Nov '14Published in: International journal of molecular sciences
Liver fibrosis is a common phenomenon that is associated with several pathologies and is characterized by excessive extracellular matrix deposition that leads to progressive liver dysfunction. Bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9) is the most recently discovered member of the BMP family. BMP9 bound with high affinity to activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK1) and endoglin in non-parenchymal liver cells. In addition, BMP9 activated Smad1/Smad5/Smad8 and induced the expression of the target genes inhibitor of differentiation 1 (Id1), hepcidin, Snail and the co-receptor endoglin in liver cells. Although the role of BMP9 in liver fibrosis is currently poorly understood, the presence of BMP9-activated proteins and its target genes have been reported to be associated with liver fibrosis development. This review summarizes the indirect connection between BMP9 and liver fibrosis, with a focus on the BMP9 signaling pathway members ALK1, endoglin, Id1, hepcidin and Snail. The observations on the role of BMP9 in regulating liver fibrosis may help in understanding the pathology mechanisms of liver disease. Furthermore, BMP9 could be served as a potent biomarker and the target of potential therapeutic drugs to treat hepatocytes fibrosis.