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Dev Biol. 1986 Jun;115(2):313-24.

Chondrogenesis of limb bud mesenchyme in vitro: stimulation by cations.


To analyze the nature of cell-cell interactions in chondrogenesis, two cations that influence these interactions, calcium and poly-L-lysine (PL), were tested for their effects on chondrogenesis in vitro. High density cultures of chick limb bud mesenchyme (Hamilton-Hamburger stages 23/24), were exposed to culture media containing calcium (0.6-3.3 mM) or PL (1-10 micrograms/ml). Both cations stimulated chondrogenesis in a dose-dependent manner, and also promoted cartilage formation in normally non-chondrogenic, low cell density cultures. Chondrogenesis was assayed based on cartilage nodule number, [35S]sulfate incorporation, and expression of type II collagen as detected by immunohistochemistry. The calcium effect was not mimicked by other divalent cations (Cd, Co, Ni, Mg, Mn, and Sr). The effect of PL was dependent on its Mr (greater than or equal to 14K) and charge, and was mimicked by poly-D-lysine but not by lysine or other analogs of PL or lysine (epsilon-amino caproic acid, lysozyme, poly-L-arginine, and spermidine). Calcium and PL probably act by different mechanisms since their effects were additive, and required their presence on different days of culture: calcium acted on Day 1, and PL on Day 2. It is proposed that calcium may play a role in the cell aggregation phase of chondrogenesis whereas PL, or a naturally occurring polypeptide of similar nature, may promote chondrogenesis by crosslinking specific anionic components of the cell surface or extracellular matrix.

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