An autoradiographic study of chondrocyte transformation into chondroclasts and osteocytes during bone formation In vitro


  • This investigation was supported in whole by Public Helath Service Research Grants AM-09499 from the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases and DE-01894 from the National Institute of Dental Research.


Excised mouse pubic bone rudiments were exposed to H3-thymidine. Rudiments preserved immediately after exposure consisted of mesenchyme with a large number of cells showing intense radioactivity. Rudiments incubated on a filter membrane after exposure went through the developmental stages of complete chondrification of the pubic rami followed by periosteal and then endochondral bone formation. Only chondrocytes showed radioactivity in rami consisting of cartilage and periosteal bone that were preserved prior to endochondral ossification. Cell types showing radioactivity in rami preserved during endochondral ossification were chondrocytes, chondroclasts, and osteoblasts and osteocytes of endochondral bone. The results of the study demonstrated that hypertrophic chondrocytes of the calcified cartilage of a developing mammalian long bone not only survive dissolution of their matrix, but transform into chondroclasts and osteoprogenitor cells that give rise to osteoblasts and osteocytes which form endochondral bone in the absence of blood vessels.