Calcified Tissue Research

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 12–22 | Cite as

Ultrastructural effects of testosterone on epiphyseal cartilage

  • A. Fahmy
  • S. Lee
  • P. Johnson
Original Papers

Abstract

Although experimental and clinical experience indicates that large doses of testosterone lead to premature cessation of growth, the exact mechanism and precise site of action of this hormone on the growth apparatus of long bones remain unknown. In this study, plateaued male rats were injected with supraphysiologic doses of testosterone to observe the submicroscopic effects on the various zones of the epiphyseal cartilage. In the zone of cell division there were increased numbers of dividing cells. The maturing cells accumulated larger amounts of secretory products at earlier stages of their life cycle, and appeared to undergo a more abrupt hypertrophy. In the zone of prehypertrophy, the interterritorial matrix contained foci of early and premature calcification and thicker and longer collagen fibers than at comparable levels in controls.

It is concluded that in intact animals, even large doses of testosterone initially cause a stimulation of chondrocyte proliferation, prior to promoting maturation processes.

Key words

Bone Cartilage Testosterone Ultrastructure Growth 

Résumé

Bien que la clinique et l'expérimentation semblent démontrer que des doses élevées de testostérone provoquent un arrêt prématuré de la croissance, le mécanisme exact et le lieu précis de son action sur l'appareil de croissance des os longs restent indéterminés. Au cours de cette étude, des rats máles de 200 g sont injectés à l'aide de doses supra-physiologiques de testostérone pour observer les effects sub-microscopiques sur les diverses zones du cartilage épiphysaire. Au niveau de la zone de division cellulaire, on note une augmentation des cellules en division. Les cellules, en voie de maturation, présentent plus de produits de sécrétion, à un stade plus précoce de leur cycle d'évolution, et semblent subir une hypertrophie plus rapide. Dans la zone pré-hypertrophique, la matrice intercellulaire présente des foyers de calcification précoce, ainsi que des fibres collagènes plus longues et plus épaisses que chez les témoins. Il apparait que, chez l'animal entier, des doses même élevées de testostérone provoquent initialement une stimulation de la prolifération chondrocytaire, avant de favoriser les processus de maturation.

Zusammenfassung

Obwohl experimentelle und klinische Erfahrung darauf hinweisen, daß hohe Dosen von Testosteron zu einem frühzeitigen Wachstumsabschluß führen, sind der genaue Mechanismus und der eigentliche Wirkungsort dieses Hormons im Wachstumsapparat der Röhrenknochen unbekannt geblieben. In diesem Experiment wurden 200 g schweren männlichen Ratten supraphysiologische Testosterondosen injiziert, um die submikroskopischen Auswirkungen auf die verschiedenen Zonen des Epiphysenknorpels zu beobachten. In der Zone der Zellmitosen fand sich eine erhöhte Anzahl von sich teilenden Zellen. Die reifenden Zellen häuften im Frühstadium ihres Lebenscyclus größere Mengen von Sekretionsprodukten an und schienen eine abruptere Hypertrophie durchzumachen. In der prähypertrophen Zone enthielt die interterritoriale Matrix Herde von früher und verfrühter Verkalkung, sowie dickere und längere Kollagenfasern als vergleichsweise in Kontrolltieren.

Daraus wird geschlossen, daß bei unbehandelten Tieren sogar große Testosterondosen anfänglich eine Stimulation der Chondrocytenproliferation verursachen, bevor sie die Reifungsprozesse veranlassen.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Fahmy
    • 1
  • S. Lee
    • 1
  • P. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyVanderbilt University, School of Medicine, Veterans Administration Hospital, and Meharry Medical CollegeNashvilleU.S.A.

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