Embryonic Limb Mesenchyme Micromass Culture as an In Vitro Model for Chondrogenesis and Cartilage Maturation

  • Anthony M. De Lise
  • Emanuela Stringa
  • Wendy A. Woodward
  • Maria Alice Mello
  • Rocky S. Tuan
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology™ book series (MIMB, volume 137)


In vitro techniques for the study of chondrogenic differentiation of embryonic limb mesenchymal cells have been available for some time. Early methods require highdensity confluent monolayer cell cultures (1,2). The micromass culture method developed by Ahrens et al. (3) represented a convenient system for the observations and analysis of the differentiative processes and phenomena analogous to those exhibited by the limb cartilage anlagen in situ. In these cultures, limb mesenchymal cells first undergo condensation giving rise to aggregates that later become cartilage nodules (3,4), thereby mimicking the differentiative phenomena occurring during embryonic limb development in vivo, i.e., mesenchymal condensation preceding cartilage differentiation (5, 6, 7, 8, 9). The micromass limb mesenchymal culture system has gained great popularity for the analysis of the regulatory steps and differentiative processes that result in the condensation of the mesenchyme and the formation and maturation of the cartilage anlagen.


Amyl Acetate Chick Embryo Extract Embryonic Limb Cartilage Nodule Differentiative Process 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony M. De Lise
    • 1
  • Emanuela Stringa
    • 1
  • Wendy A. Woodward
    • 1
  • Maria Alice Mello
    • 1
  • Rocky S. Tuan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryThomas Jefferson UniversityPhiladelphia

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