, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 146-152

Localization of osteonectin expression in human fetal skeletal tissues byin situ hybridization

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The expression of osteonectin gene was studied in developing human fetuses by Northern analysis andin situ hybridization. The highest levels of osteonectin mRNA were detected in RNA extracted from calvarial bones, growth plates, and skin. Low mRNA levels were present in several parenchymal tissues.In situ hybridization of developing long bones revealed three cell types with high osteonectin mRNA levels: osteoblasts, cells of the periosteum, and hypertrophic chondrocytes. Weaker signals were detected in osteocytes, fibroblasts of tendons, ligaments and skin, and in cells of the epidermis. Apart from the hypertrophic chondrocytes, only low osteonectin mRNA levels were seen in cartilage. The localization of osteonectin mRNA in fetal growth plates is consistent with the hypothesis that the protein plays a role in the mineralization of bone and cartilage matrices.