Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 149, Issue 4, pp 353–363 | Cite as

Transcriptional network systems in cartilage development and disease

  • Riko Nishimura
  • Kenji Hata
  • Eriko Nakamura
  • Tomohiko Murakami
  • Yoshifumi Takahata


Transcription factors play important roles in the regulation of cartilage development by controlling the expression of chondrogenic genes. Genetic studies have revealed that Sox9/Sox5/Sox6, Runx2/Runx3 and Osterix in particular are essential for the sequential steps of cartilage development. Importantly, these transcription factors form network systems that are also required for appropriate cartilage development. Molecular cloning approaches have largely contributed to the identification of several transcriptional partners for Sox9 and Runx2 during cartilage development. Although the importance of a negative-feedback loop between Indian hedgehog (Ihh) and parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) in chondrocyte hypertrophy has been well established, recent studies indicate that several transcription factors interact with the Ihh–PTHrP loop and demonstrated that Ihh has multiple functions in the regulation of cartilage development. The most common cartilage disorder, osteoarthritis, has been reported to result from the pathological action of several transcription factors, including Runx2, C/EBPβ and HIF-2α. On the other hand, NFAT family members appear to play roles in the protection of cartilage from osteoarthritis. It is also becoming important to understand the homeostasis and regulation of articular chondrocytes, because they have different cellular and molecular features from chondrocytes of the growth plate. This review summarizes the regulation and roles of transcriptional network systems in cartilage development and their pathological roles in osteoarthritis.


Transcription factors Cartilage Osteoarthritis Sox9 Runx2 



This work was partly supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant number 16H06393.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Riko Nishimura
    • 1
  • Kenji Hata
    • 1
  • Eriko Nakamura
    • 1
  • Tomohiko Murakami
    • 1
  • Yoshifumi Takahata
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Cellular BiochemistryOsaka University Graduate School of DentistrySuitaJapan

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