Send to

Choose Destination
Scan Electron Microsc. 1984;(Pt 2):953-64.

Mineralization by matrix vesicles.


Matrix vesicles are widely regarded as the initial site of calcification in epiphyseal growth plate cartilage, in growing bone and in predentin. This opinion has recently been challenged on grounds that the early aqueous methods used for electron microscopic tissue preparation may have produced an erroneous picture by causing mineral dislocation. However, this argument has now been refuted by multiple investigators throughout the world using a variety of anhydrous methods coupled with electron probe analysis to show convincingly that matrix vesicles are, indeed, associated with initial mineral. Matrix vesicles appear to mineralize by concentrating calcium and phosphate at a protected site close to the inner leaflet of the vesicle membrane. Calcium may be attracted by its affinity for acidic phospholipids of the vesicle membrane, and phosphate may be concentrated by the action of transmembrane phosphatases of the matrix vesicle membrane. Evidence is accumulating to suggest that alkaline phosphatase of the matrix vesicle membrane functions as a phosphotransferase or phosphate vector, transporting PO4 across the vesicle membrane. The mechanism(s) of matrix vesicle biogenesis are discussed including budding from the plasma membrane (for which there is much support), cell degeneration (for which there is gathering support), extrusion of intracytoplasmic vesicles (for which there is weak support), and extracellular subunit self-assembly (for which there is little support). It is suggested that none of these mechanisms is necessarily exclusive, thus more than one mechanism may function in the same tissue. Finally, it is noted that in many calcific diseases, ranging from arthritis to atherosclerosis, mineralization is initiated by extracellular membrane-invested vesicles which are probably analogous to the matrix vesicles of skeletal tissues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center