Meckel's cartilage chondrocytes in organ culture synthesize bone-type proteins accompanying osteocytic phenotype expression

Kiyoto Ishizeki, Masaharu Takigawa, Yorio Harada, Fujio Suzuki, Tokio Nawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We examined whether Meckel's cartilage of embryonic mice, 17 days in utero, undergo the cellular transformation into the osteocyte-like phenotype under organ culture conditions. Explants were grown by our original pithole method modified Trowell-type cultures for up to 4 weeks at 37°C under 5% CO2 in air. Specimens were examined using histological procedures including immunostaining and electron microscopy. In addition, the effects of β-glycerophosphate on matrix calcification were also examined in cultures with or without β-glycerophosphate. Addition of β-glycerophosphate induced calcification at a higher level, but calcium mineral deposition occurred regardless of the addition of β-glycerophosphate to the culture medium. Light and electron microscopic analyses showed that freshly isolated chondrocytes prior to cell culture had typical hypertrophic morphology, but shortly after commencement of culture, they showed morphological modifications. The cells showing chondrocytic phenotypes became basophilic elliptical cells, and eventually transformed into flattened osteocyte-like cells. Bone-like features for cellular elements were characterized by spindle-shaped cells with elongated processes accompanying bone-specific thick-banded collagen fibrils. Immunostaining showed that at 2 weeks in culture, type I and type II collagens coexisted in the matrix, but subsequently type II collagen synthesis ceased and was replaced by type I collagen synthesis. Immunofluorescent labeling for osteocalcin was noted first in the peripheral cells by 1 week, but at 3 weeks this reaction spread to the central zone in explants. Alkaline phosphatase activity (ALPase) was expressed on the cells in the central zone prior to calcium mineral deposition as shown by von Kossa's reaction at 3 weeks in culture. These results showed that Meckel's cartilage chondrocytes in organ culture synthesize bone-type proteins accompanying osteocytic phenotype expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-71
Number of pages11
JournalAnatomy and Embryology
Volume193
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996

Keywords

  • Calcification
  • Meckel's cartilage
  • Organ culture
  • Osteocyte-like cell
  • Transformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Embryology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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