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Characterization of aggregating proteoglycans from the proliferative, maturing, hypertrophic, and calcifying zones of the cartilaginous physis
Y Matsui; M Alini; C Webber; AR Poole
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 1991 Aug 01;73(7):1064-1074
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The introduction of a new microanalytical approach has made it possible to investigate the molecular structure and content of proteoglycans within the extracellular matrix of the physis when the volumes of the matrix and the cells change before mineralization of the extracellular matrix. By using extracts of serial frozen sections with a combination of gel chromatography and chemical, radioimmunoassay, and morphometric analyses, we demonstrated that, in the bovine fetal physis, the content of large aggregating proteoglycans reaches a maximum in the extracellular matrix of the hypertrophic zone, in the region where calcification begins, at the time when calcification starts. Morphometric analyses revealed that, at this time, the volume of matrix is reduced to a minimum. There was no evidence that the remaining proteoglycans were reduced in size, nor was aggregation changed at the time when calcification was initiated. Thus, contrary to earlier reports, there is no indication that these molecules need to be degraded and removed for calcification to begin, although a progressive loss of proteoglycans clearly occurs as the volume of the matrix is reduced.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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