Expression of the human chondrocyte phenotype in vitro
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- Aulthouse, A.L., Beck, M., Griffey, E. et al. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol (1989) 25: 659. doi:10.1007/BF02623638
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We report a culture scheme in which human epiphyseal chondrocytes lose their differentiated phenotype in monolayer and subsequently reexpress the phenotype in an agarose gel. The scheme is based on a method using rabbit chondrocytes. Culture in monolayer allowed small quantities of cells to be amplified and provided a starting point to study expression of the differentiated human chondrocyte phenotype. The cells cultured in monolayer produced type I procollagen, fibronectin, and small noncartilaginous proteoglycans. Subsequent culture in agarose was associated with the acquisition of typical chondrocyte ultrastructural features and the synthesis of type II collagen and cartilage-specific proteoglycans. The switch from the nonchondrocyte to the differented chondrocyte phenotype occurred under these conditions between 1 and 2 wk of agarose culture and was not necessarily homogeneous throughout a culture. This culture technique will facilitate direct investigation of human disorders of cartilage that have been addressed in the past by alternative approaches.