During endochondral ossification, proliferative activity of chondrocytes is arrested and the cells undergo terminal hypertrophic differentiation. We examined the expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p21(C1P1/WAF1) in permanent cartilage (xyphoid and articular cartilage) and in cartilage undergoing endochondral ossification (growth plate, epiphyseal ossification centers, and costochondral junctions) to determine if p21 is up- regulated in chondrocytes during hypertrophic differentiation. Northern blot analyses demonstrated expression of p21 in chondrocytes undergoing endochondral ossification and from sites of permanent cartilage. Quantitative analyses of Northern data showed an association between expression of the hypertrophic-specific marker, collagen type X, and the level of 21 expression. In situ hybridization of rodent femoropatellar joints and costochondral junctions localized p21 mRNA to chondrocytes within both the proliferative and hypertrophic zones of the growth plates, in chondrocytes involved in formation of the epiphyseal ossification centers, and in articular chondrocytes. Immunohistochemical analyses of p21 expression in the same tissues demonstrated comparatively higher levels of p21 protein in postmitotic chondrocytes. These data suggest that p21 is active in cell cycle regulation in chondrocytes, and that increased p21 expression is associated with hypertrophic differentiation.
- Endochondral ossification
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine