Noggin is a bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) antagonist expressed in Spemann's organizer. Murine Noggin is expressed in condensing cartilage and immature chondrocytes, as are many BMPs. In mice lacking Noggin, cartilage condensations initiated normally but developed hyperplasia, and initiation of joint development failed as measured by the expression of growth and differentiation factor-5. The maturation of cartilage and Hoxd expression were unaffected. Excess BMP activity in the absence of Noggin antagonism may enhance the recruitment of cells into cartilage, resulting in oversized growth plates; chondrocytes are also refractory to joint-inducing positional cues.
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