Ultrastructure of Articular Cartilage of Mice Treated with Somatotrophin


Administration of somatotropic hormone to newborn or weanling mice of strain C57BL Jax6 for one, two, or four weeks accelerated articular growth and development. The organelles were increased in number and the appearance of granular endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi vacuoles, multivesicular bodies, and glycogen was hastened. Toward the end of the developmental cycle, the chondrocytes swelled excessively and their plasmalemma ruptured without evidence of vascular erosion. After four weeks of treatment, there was premature breakdown of chondrocytes, their place being taken by fibrillar microscars. In the matrix, development of fibers was accentuated. The intensification of fibrillarity was followed by disorientation of the superficial collagen fibers with fraying of the articular covering. The functional significance of these findings, as well as their relation to aging changes in cartilage, is discussed.