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Anat Rec. 2001 Dec 1;264(4):348-57.

Cellular origin of endochondral ossification from grafted periosteum.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Reconstructive Surgery, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Shikata-cho, Okayama, Japan.


Grafted periosteum is known to have potential for heterotopic bone formation by endochondral ossification. Although osteochondrogenic cells have been thought to originate from the osteogenic layer in grafted periosteum, no histological report has yet demonstrated this. The present study was designed to elucidate the origin of chondrogenesis preceding bone formation in grafted periosteum. Periostea harvested from young Japanese white rabbits' tibiae were grafted into suprahyoid muscles and examined radiographically and histologically at postoperative days 1, 7, 9, 14, 21, and 35. Normal periostea and tibial graft site were also examined. Surgical harvesting of the periosteum split and damaged its osteogenic layer but retained the fibrous layer intact. Most of the osteoblasts remained on the tibial bone surface, and only few cells of the osteogenic layer were present in grafted tissue. By the seventh day after grafting, the fibrous layer had thickened. The fibroblastic cells in the fibrous layer had significantly increased in number (P < 0.01) and were positively stained for proliferating cell nuclear antigen. These cells exhibited alkaline phosphatase activity at day 9. The differentiated chondrocytes had formed cartilage at postoperative day 14. Cells in the osteogenic layer appeared necrotic and subsequently disappeared. Following postoperative day 21, cartilage was replaced by trabecular bone. Bone formation was completed by 35 days. An X-ray analysis at this time also revealed new bone formation. These findings indicate that grafted periosteum forms bone by endochondral ossification and that the cells of the fibrous layer play essential roles in chondrogenesis that precedes such bone formation.

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