We investigate, by the immunogold method, the localization of keratan sulfate (KS) proteoglycan in rat calvaria in order to clarify the detailed process of intramembranous ossification. KS was localized in bone nodules corresponding to calcified nodules, close to the saggital suture of calvaria. The immunoreactivity decreased in fully calcified regions distant from the suture. Electron microscopic observation revealed that KS was distributed in and around matrix vesicles, among collagen fibrils at the initial crystal deposition stage, and then concentrated in bone nodules. According to the progress of mineralization, KS tended to be localized in the peripheral region of the nodules. In addition, these nodules came in contact with collagen fibrils which also showed KS-positive reactivity. In cell organelles of osteoblasts, KS was detected in the Golgi apparatus. These findings suggest that osteoblasts in intramembranous ossification sites actively synthesize KS. KS in the calcified nodules, as well as other glycosaminoglycans in osteoid, may play an important role in additional and/or collagenous calcification by trapping calcium ions through its negative charge.
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