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Genomics. 2006 Jul;88(1):52-64. Epub 2006 Apr 4.

Activation of genes for growth factor and cytokine pathways late in chondrogenic differentiation of ATDC5 cells.

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Department of Functional Genomics, Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.


The mouse embryonal carcinoma cell line ATDC5 provides an excellent model system for chondrogenesis in vitro. To understand better the molecular mechanisms of endochondral bone formation, we investigated gene expression profiles during the differentiation course of ATDC5 cells, using an in-house microarray harboring full-length-enriched cDNAs. For 28 days following chondrogenic induction, 507 genes were up- or down-regulated at least 1.5-fold. These genes were classified into five clusters based on their expression patterns. Genes for growth factor and cytokine pathways were significantly enriched in the cluster characterized by increases in expression during late stages of chondrocyte differentiation. mRNAs for decorin and osteoglycin, which have been shown to bind to transforming growth factors-beta and bone morphogenetic proteins, respectively, were found in this cluster and were detected in hypertrophic chondrocytes of developing mouse bones by in situ hybridization analysis. Taken together with assigned functions of individual genes in the cluster, interdigitated interaction between a number of intercellular signaling molecules is likely to take place in the late chondrogenic stage for autocrine and paracrine regulation among chondrocytes, as well as for chemoattraction and stimulation of progenitor cells of other lineages.

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