• Fracture;
  • Endochondral bone development;
  • Transcriptome;
  • Vasculogenesis


Fractures initiate one round of endochondral bone formation in which callus cells differentiate in a synchronous manner that temporally phenocopies the spatial variation of endochondral development of a growth plate. During fracture healing C57BL/6J (B6) mice initiate chondrogenesis earlier and develop more cartilage than bone, whereas C3H/HeJ (C3H) mice initiate osteogenesis earlier and develop more bone than cartilage. Comparison of the transcriptomes of fracture healing in these strains of mice identified the genes that showed differences in timing and quantitative expression and encode for the variations in endochondral bone development of the two mouse strains. The complement of strain-dependent differences in gene expression was specifically associated with ontologies related to both skeletal and vascular formation. Moreover, the differences in gene expression associated with vascular tissue formation during fracture healing were correlated with the underlying differences in development and function of the cardiovascular systems of these two strains of mice. Significant differences in gene expression associated with bone morphogenetic protein/transforming growth factor β (BMP/TGF-β) signal-transduction pathways were identified between the two strains, and a network of differentially expressed genes specific to the MAP kinase cascade was further defined as a subset of the genes of the BMP/TGF-β pathways. Other signal-transduction pathways that showed significant strain-specific differences in gene expression included the RXR/PPAR and G protein–related pathways. These data identify how bone and vascular regeneration are coordinated through expression of common sets of transcription and morphogenetic factors and suggest that there is heritable linkage between vascular and skeletal tissue development during postnatal regeneration. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research