IIT Kanpur researchers find why babies need to move in the womb

Permanent cartilage is formed in an embryo due to the mechanical movement.Formation of joints in the developing embryo and their maintenance after birth is sensitive to mechanical movement. Now, researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur have deciphered the molecular mechanism underlying this phenomenon. They have demonstrated how permanent cartilage is formed in an embryo due to mechanical movement. They also found out how permanent cartilage is lost and temporary or transient cartilage is formed in its place in the absence of movement.

While permanent cartilage lines the joint, the transient cartilage is a bone-forming one. Earlier this group demonstrated that during embryonic development, a bipotential cartilage population gives rise to both permanent and transient cartilage. BMP and Wnt are two major signals regulating this process. While BMP promotes transient cartilage formation, Wnt pr In patients with osteoarthritis, the permanent cartilage acquires all the characteristics of a temporary cartilage, which affects joint function. Currently, in people with osteoarthritis, it is not possible to reverse the fate of permanent cartilage that has become a temporary-like cartilage. The work done by a team led by Prof. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay from the Department of Biological Sciences and Bioengineering at IIT Kanpur suggests that it might be possible to prevent osteoarthritis from worsening if intervened at an early stage. The results were published in the journal Development. The work was carried out in collaboration wi

On-off switches

BMP signaling — which helps in the formation of transient cartilage — is normally not present in permanent cartilage cells in a joint. That transient cartilage forms in the place of permanent cartilage due to joint immobilisation was already known. And independently, the team had shown that BMP signalling promotes transient cartilage formation. “So we wanted to find out if immobilising the joints in a chick embryo allows the BMP signaling to come up in the joint cartilage cells. We did find that happening,” Prof. Bandyopadhyay says. The investigation into what causes the BMP signaling to be present in future permanent cartilage cells when the joint is immobilised led them to a surprise finding. The lead author, Pratik Singh, found out that an inhibitor of BMP signaling (Smurf1) is absent in the joint that is immobilised resulting in increased BMP signaling. “The role of the Smurf1 inhibitor is to maintain a BMP-free area thereby enabling the progenitor cells to become permanent cart


Suraj misra

Good work