Osterix Couples Chondrogenesis and Osteogenesis in Post-natal Condylar Growth
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Osterix (Osx) is a transcription factor essential for osteoblast differentiation and bone mineralization. Although there are indications that Osx also plays a regulatory role in cartilage, this has not been well-studied. The goal of this study was to define the function of Osx in the post-natal growth of the secondary cartilage at the mandibular condyle. Conditional Osx knockout (cKO) mice that were missing Osx only in cartilage were generated by crossing Osx-loxP mice to Aggrecan-Cre mice. Cre activity was induced by tamoxifen injection twice a week from day 12 to 1 mo of age, and specimens were collected at 1 and 5 mo of age. At 1 mo of age, the condylar hypertrophic chondrocyte zone in the cKO-mice was > three-fold thicker than that in the age-matched control, with little sign of endochondral bone formation. Immunohistochemistry and analysis of histological data revealed a defect in the coupling of chondrogenesis and osteogenesis in the cKO mice. In five-month-old mice examined to address whether late-stage removal of the Cre-deletion event would alleviate the phenotype, the hypertrophic chondrocyte zone in the cKO condyles was considerably larger than in wild-type mice. There were large discrete areas of calcified cartilage in the hypertrophic zone, few signs of endochondral bone formation, and large regions of disorganized intramembranous bone. Analysis of these data further strengthens the notion that Osterix is essential for the coupling of terminal cartilage differentiation and endochondral ossification in mandibular condylar cartilage.
author list (cited authors)
Jing, J., Hinton, R. J., Jing, Y., Liu, Y., Zhou, X., & Feng, J. Q.