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Acta Anat (Basel). 1992;145(1):79-87.

Structural characterization of the mandibular condyle in human fetuses: light and electron microscopy studies.

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  • 1Laboratory for Musculoskeletal Research, Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Haifa, Israel.

Abstract

Mandibular condyles from 18- to 20-week-old human fetuses were examined in the light and electron microscope with particular attention to intratissue organization and extracellular matrix. In the human fetus the condyle has been divided into five layers: (1) the most superficial, articular layer, (2) chondroprogenitor cell layer, (3) condroblast cell layer, (4) nonmineralized hypertrophic cell layer, and (5) mineralized hypertrophic cell layer. The articular layer is rich in collagen fibers (mostly of the type I collagen), but the cells seldom divide. By contrast, in the chondroprogenitor cell layer and upper part of the chondroblastic cell layer mitosis gives rise to new cells. The matrix in the latter layer is composed of thick banded 'lucent' fibrils in a loose feltwork of granules representing cartilage proteoglycans. The daughter cells in the progenitor cell layer undergo differentiation which is apparently completed along the lower border of the mineralized hypertrophic cell layer--the ossification front. The matrix in the hypertrophic cell layer reveals distinct matrix vesicles that undergo mineralization and subsequently coalesce to form larger sheets of mineralized extracellular matrix. Mineralized cartilage serves as a backbone for new bone formation as marrow-derived osteoblasts and osteoclasts attach to remnants of mineralized cartilage, which enables the turning on of the remodeling cycles involved in new bone formation. It can be concluded that the process of endochondral ossification as has been reported in lower animals is recapitulated in the human fetus, thus the dynamics associated with condylar morphogenesis is maintained through phylogeny.

PMID:
1414216
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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