The Histochemical Journal

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 165–174 | Cite as

Confocal Analysis of Cytoskeletal Organisation within Isolated Chondrocyte Sub-populations Cultured in Agarose

  • Bernadine D. Idowu
  • Martin M. Knight
  • Dan L. Bader
  • David A. Lee


This study reports the cytoskeletal organisation within chondrocytes, isolated from the superficial and deep zones of articular cartilage and seeded into agarose constructs. At day 0, marked organisation of actin microfilaments was not observed in cells from both zones. Partial or clearly organised microtubules and vimentin intermediate filaments cytoskeletal components were present, however, in a proportion of cells. Staining for microtubules and vimentin intermediate filaments was less marked after 1 day in culture however than on initial seeding. For all three cytoskeletal components there was a dramatic increase in organisation between days 3 and 14 and, in general, organisation was greater within deep zone cells. Clear organisation for actin microfilaments was characterised by a cortical network and punctate staining around the periphery of the cell, while microtubules and vimentin intermediate filaments formed an extensive fibrous network. Cytoskeletal organisation within chondrocytes in agarose appears, therefore, to be broadly similar to that described in situ. Variations in the organisation of actin microfilaments between chondrocytes cultured in agarose and in monolayer are consistent with a role in phenotypic modulation. Vimentin intermediate filaments and microtubules form a link between the plasma membrane and the nucleus and may play a role in the mechanotransduction process.


Plasma Membrane Agarose Articular Cartilage Initial Seeding Deep Zone 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernadine D. Idowu
    • 1
  • Martin M. Knight
    • 2
  • Dan L. Bader
    • 2
  • David A. Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.IRC in Biomedical Materials, Institute of OrthopaedicsUniversity College London Medical SchoolMiddlesexUK
  2. 2.IRC in Biomedical Materials, Queen Mary and Westfield CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK

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