Gene expression during endochondral bone development: evidence for coordinate expression of transforming growth factor beta 1 and collagen type I

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology; Department of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; *Bone Development; Bone Transplantation; Collagen; *Gene Expression Regulation; RNA, Messenger; Rats; Skin; Transforming Growth Factor beta; Transplantation, Heterotopic


Cell Biology


Subcutaneous implantation of demineralized bone particles (DBP) into rats induces the formation of a bone ossicle by a tightly controlled sequence of chondro- and osteo-inductive events which are directly comparable to those which occur in normal endochondral bone development. Although the morphological and biochemical sequence associated with endochondral bone formation in this model has been well characterized, to date little information is available as to the gene regulation by which these events occur. To examine the expression of genes in this system, RNA was isolated from implants every 2 days over a time course spanning 3 to 19 days after implantation of DBP into rats. Cellular levels of mRNA transcripts of cell-growth-regulated and tissue-specific genes were examined by slot blot analysis and compared to the morphological changes occurring during formation of the ossicle. Analysis of the mRNA levels of histone H4 and c-myc, markers of proliferative activity, revealed several periods of actively proliferating cells, corresponding to 1) production of fibroprogenitor cells (day 3), 2) onset of bone formation (day 9), and 3) formation of bone marrow (day 19). The mRNA levels of collagen type II, a phenotypic marker of cartilage, peaked between days 7 and 9 post-implantation, corresponding to the appearance of chondrocytes in the implant, and rapidly declined on day 11 (to 5% of maximum value) when bone formation was observed. The peak mRNA levels of collagen type I, found in fibroblasts and osteoblasts, occurred first with the onset of bone formation (days 7-10) and again during formation of bone marrow (day 19). This study has demonstrated that the temporal patterns of mRNA expression of cartilage type II and bone type I collagens coincide with the morphological sequence in this model of endochondral bone formation. Further, the mRNA levels of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF beta) were compared to those of collagen types I and II; a direct temporal correlation of TGF beta mRNA levels with that of collagen type I was found throughout the developmental time course. This observation of a tightly coupled relationship between TGF beta and type I collagen mRNA levels is consistent with a functional role for TGF beta in extracellular matrix production during in vivo bone formation.

DOI of Published Version



J Cell Biochem. 1990 Oct;44(2):81-91. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of cellular biochemistry

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PubMed ID