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Bone Miner. 1991 Jan;12(1):25-40.

Transdifferentiation of hypertrophic chondrocytes into osteoblasts in murine fetal metatarsal bones, induced by co-cultured cerebrum.

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Laboratory of Cell Biology and Histology, Medical Faculty, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.


The fate of hypertrophic chondrocytes in 17-day-old metatarsal bones of fetal mice was studied in a culture system in which these cells were kept confined to their lacunae. Because the periosteum had been stripped off, osteoclasts could not invade the long bone and resorb the lacunar walls. The majority of the hypertrophic chondrocytes stayed alive and dedifferentiated gradually into cells with the appearance of stromal cells. When the long bones were co-cultured with pieces of cerebrum, the chondrocytes transdifferentiated into osteoblasts. We followed this process from day to day. The cells produced bone matrix that immunostained for collagen type I and osteocalcin. To exclude with certainty the possibility that the intralacunar osteoblasts had derived from remaining periosteal osteoprogenitor cells that invaded the lacunae, the long bones were pre-cultured with cytochalasin D, which inhibits cell proliferation and migration. After removal of the drug this effect persisted until after transdifferentiation had occurred. This proved that the bone matrix producing osteoblasts inside the cartilage lacunae were transdifferentiated chondrocytes. The transdifferentiation stimulating factor from brain tissue is still unknown.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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