The Skeleton

pp 55-75

Continuous Expression of Cbfa1 in Nonhypertrophic Chondrocytes Uncovers Its Ability to Induce Hypertrophic Chondrocyte Differentiation and Partially Rescues Cbfa1-Deficient Mice

  • Shu Takeda
  • , Jean-Pierre Bonnamy
  • , Michael J. Owen
  • , Patricia Ducy
  • , Gerard Karsenty

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Chondrocytes play critical roles at several stages of endochondral ossification. At the onset of skeletal development, in the areas of the skeleton that will undergo endochondral ossification, undifferentiated mesenchymal cells form condensations that have the shape of the future skeletal elements. Cells within these mesenchymal condensations differentiate into chondrocytes that express specific molecular markers, such as α1(II) collagen, whereas the remaining undifferentiated mesenchymal cells at the periphery of the condensations form the perichondrium (for review, see ref. 1). Once these cartilaginous models have formed, chondrocytes in their centers further differentiate into hypertrophic chondrocytes. At the time chondrocyte hypertrophy occurs, the perichondrial cells differentiate into osteoblasts to form, around the cartilaginous core, the bone collar (2).