Jun 26, 1998

Ultrastructural modifications of the extracellular matrix upon calcification of growth plate cartilage as revealed by quick-freeze deep etching technique

Calcified Tissue International
T AkisakaM Inoue


The ultrastructural changes in cartilage matrix that occur during calcification have been examined in chick epiphyseal growth plate cartilage prepared by quick-frozen, deep-etched, and rotary shadowed replicas. The extracellular cartilage matrix contains a reticular network closely associated with an extensive network of collagen. The components of the reticular network, including thick and thin filaments, are attached directly to the cell membrane, matrix vesicle membrane, and collagen fibrils. This network, which interconnects the matrix vesicles and collagen, fills the extracellular matrix. The dimensions of the reticular network seem to remain almost constant in size from the reserve and proliferative zones to the calcifying zone. The collagen fibrils seem to consist of subfibrillar structures that branch and anastomose. In optimally quick-frozen, deep-etched, prepared collagen, a cross-banding pattern was exposed. Globular structures stud the collagen fibrils, which gradually diminish in number from the reserve zone down to the calcifying zone. The matrix vesicles, when fractured, showed a granular appearance. In most cases, the fracture plane passed through the bilayer of the matrix vesicle membrane. The true surface of t...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Extracellular Matrix
Epiphysis of Bone
Collagen Location
Physiologic Calcification

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