Send to

Choose Destination
Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2012 Aug;4(4):269-85. doi: 10.1177/1759720X12448454.

Chondrogenesis, chondrocyte differentiation, and articular cartilage metabolism in health and osteoarthritis.

Author information

Hospital for Special Surgery, Caspary Research Building, 5th Floor, 535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Chondrogenesis occurs as a result of mesenchymal cell condensation and chondroprogenitor cell differentiation. Following chondrogenesis, the chondrocytes remain as resting cells to form the articular cartilage or undergo proliferation, terminal differentiation to chondrocyte hypertrophy, and apoptosis in a process termed endochondral ossification, whereby the hypertrophic cartilage is replaced by bone. Human adult articular cartilage is a complex tissue of matrix proteins that varies from superficial to deep layers and from loaded to unloaded zones. A major challenge to efforts to repair cartilage by stem cell-based and other tissue-engineering strategies is the inability of the resident chondrocytes to lay down a new matrix with the same properties as it had when it was formed during development. Thus, understanding and comparing the mechanisms of cartilage remodeling during development, osteoarthritis (OA), and aging may lead to more effective strategies for preventing cartilage damage and promoting repair. The pivotal proteinase that marks OA progression is matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP-13), the major type II collagen-degrading collagenase, which is regulated by both stress and inflammatory signals. We and other investigators have found that there are common mediators of these processes in human OA cartilage. We also observe temporal and spatial expression of these mediators in early through late stages of OA in mouse models and are analyzing the consequences of knockout or transgenic overexpression of critical genes. Since the chondrocytes in adult human cartilage are normally quiescent and maintain the matrix in a low turnover state, understanding how they undergo phenotypic modulation and promote matrix destruction and abnormal repair in OA may to lead to identification of critical targets for therapy to block cartilage damage and promote effective cartilage repair.


articular cartilage; chondrogenesis; inflammation; mouse models; osteoarthritis

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center