Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)9 and BMP10 are high affinity ligands for activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK1), a type I BMP receptor mainly expressed on vascular endothelial cells (ECs). ALK1-mediated BMP9/BMP10 signalling pathways have emerged as essential in EC biology and in angiogenesis. Several genetic mutations in the genes encoding the ligands and receptors of this pathway have been reported in two cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT). Administration of recombinant BMP9 reverses experimental PAH in preclinical rodent models. Dalantercept, an Fc-fusion protein of the extracellular domain of ALK1 and a ligand trap for BMP9 and BMP10, is in phase II clinical trials for anti-tumour angiogenesis. Understanding the regulation of BMP9 and BMP10, at both gene and protein levels, under physiological and pathological conditions, will reveal essential information and potential novel prognostic markers for the BMP9/BMP10-targeted therapies.

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