Chondrocyte survival and differentiation in situ are integrin mediated. Academic Article uri icon


  • Chondrocytes in specific areas of the chick sternum have different developmental fates. Cephalic chondrocytes become hypertrophic and secrete type X collagen into the extracellular matrix prior to bone deposition. Middle and caudal chondrocytes remain cartilaginous throughout development and continue to secrete collagen types II, IX, and XI. The interaction of integrin receptors with extracellular matrix molecules has been shown to affect cytoskeleton organization, proliferation, differentiation, and gene expression in other cell types. We hypothesized that chondrocyte survival and differentiation including the deposition into interstitial matrix of type X collagen may be integrin receptor mediated. To test this hypothesis, a serum-free organ culture sternal model that recapitulates normal development and maintains the three-dimensional relationships of the tissue was developed. We examined chondrocyte differentiation by five parameters: type X collagen deposition into interstitial matrix, sternal growth, actin distribution, cell shape, and cell diameter changes. Additional sterna were analyzed for apoptosis using a fragmented DNA assay. Sterna were organ cultured with blocking antibodies specific for integrin subunits (alpha2, alpha3, or beta1). In the presence of anti-beta1 integrin (25 microg/ml, clone W1B10), type X collagen deposition into interstitial matrix and sternal growth were significantly inhibited. In addition, all chondrocytes were significantly smaller, the actin was disrupted, and there was a significant increase in apoptosis throughout the specimens. Addition of anti-alpha2 (10 microg/ml, clone P1E6) or anti-alpha3 (10 microg/ml, clone P1B5) integrin partially inhibited type X collagen deposition into interstitial matrix; however, sternal growth and cell size were significantly decreased. These data are the first obtained from intact tissue and demonstrate that the interaction of chondrocytes with extracellular matrix is required for chondrocyte survival and differentiation.

published proceedings

  • Dev Dyn

author list (cited authors)

  • Hirsch, M. S., Lunsford, L. E., Trinkaus-Randall, V., & Svoboda, K. K.

citation count

  • 110

complete list of authors

  • Hirsch, MS||Lunsford, LE||Trinkaus-Randall, V||Svoboda, KK

publication date

  • November 1997