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Calcif Tissue Int. 1997 Jun;60(6):547-53.

Ultrastructural immunolocalization of cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) in porcine growth cartilage.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Box 7028, S-750-07 Uppsala, Sweden.


Cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) is a macromolecule of yet unknown function with restricted distribution among tissues. In the present study, the ultrastructural localization of COMP in porcine immature joint cartilage and growth plate cartilage was semiquantitatively delineated. Tissues were fixed in a mixture of low concentration glutar- and paraformaldehyde, embedded at low temperature, and subjected to immunocytochemistry using polyclonal antibodies raised against bovine COMP. Protein A-coated colloidal gold was used for detection. The most intense immunolabeling for COMP was noted in the proliferative zones of the growth cartilages. Here the concentration of immunomarker was higher in the territorial compartment than in the pericellular and interterritorial areas. A low concentration of COMP was observed in the resting and hypertrophic zones. The immunolabeling for COMP did not differ between the three matrix compartments of these zones. Supported by previous data obtained by in situ hybridization, the concentration of immunolabeling in the proliferative zone indicates a high rate of COMP synthesis in proliferative chondrocytes. Hence, COMP may be considered as a marker for normal differentiation into proliferative chondrocytes.

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