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Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2014 Dec;12(4):439-45. doi: 10.1007/s11914-014-0232-1.

Extracellular matrix and developing growth plate.

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Oulu Center for Cell-Matrix Research, Biocenter Oulu and Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, FIN-90014, Oulu, Finland,


Growth plate is a specialized cartilaginous structure that mediates the longitudinal growth of skeletal bones. It consists of ordered zones of chondrocytes that secrete an extracellular matrix (ECM) composed of specific types of collagens and proteoglycans. Several heritable human skeletal dysplasias are caused by mutations in these ECM components and this review focuses on the roles of type II, IX, X, and XI collagens, aggrecan, matrilins, perlecan, and cartilage oligomeric matrix protein in the growth plate as deduced from human disease phenotypes and mouse models. Substantial advances have been achieved in deciphering the interaction networks and individual roles of these components in the construction of the growth plate ECM. Furthermore, ER stress and other cellular responses have been identified as key downstream effects of the ECM mutations contributing to abnormal growth plate development. The next challenge is to utilize the molecular level knowledge for the development of potential therapeutics.

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