Monospecific antibodies to cartilage proteoglycan monomer and link protein were employed with immunofluorescence microscopy to determine the tissue distribution of these constituents during matrix-induced endochondral bone development. Subcutaneous implantation of demineralized diaphyseal bone matrix resulted in new endochondral bone formation. On Day 3, the implant consisted of mesenchymal tissue which did not contain any demonstrable cartilage-related proteoglycan or link protein. With the onset of early chondrogenesis on Day 5, cartilage proteoglycan monomer and link protein were first localized together in the cartilage matrix, particularly around chondrocytes in territorial sites. Progressively more staining around cells was observed at Days 7 and 9. On Day 9, when mineralization was first observed, there was no evidence of a net loss of these molecules prior to mineralization of the cartilage matrix. On Day 11 and thereafter, bone formation was observed by appositional growth on calcified cartilage spicules. Whereas the osteoblasts and bone matrix were devoid of any staining for cartilage proteoglycan and link components, the residual, partly mineralized cartilage spicules still reacted with antibodies to cartilage proteoglycan monomer and link protein in territorial sites, but in reduced amounts, indicating a loss of these molecules associated with a loss of hypertrophic chondrocytes. Since mineral prevented the access of Fab' antibody subunits, demineralization after fixation was routinely employed. The results reveal that cartilage proteoglycan monomer and link protein are present around chondrocytes in hyaline cartilage during the early stages of endochondral bone formation and that there is no net loss of these molecules prior to mineralization of this cartilage matrix as was previously thought.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology