Changes in cells's secretory organelles and extracellular matrix during endochondral ossification in the mandibular condyle of the growing rat

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The mandibular condyle from 20-day-old rats was examined in the electron microscope with particular attention to intracellular secretory granules and extracellular matrix. Moreover, type II collagen was localized by an immunoperoxidase method. The condyle has been divided into five layers: (1) the most superficial, articular layer, (2) polymorphic cell layer, (3) flattened cell layer, (4) upper hypertrophic, and (5) lower hypertrophic cell layers. In the articular layer, the cells seldom divide, but in the polymorphic layer and upper part of the flattened cell layer, mitosis gives rise to new cells. In these layers, cells produce two types of secretory granules, usually in distinct stacks of the Golgi apparatus; type a, cylindrical granules, in which 300-nm-long threads are packed in bundles which appear lucent after formaldehyde fixation; and type b, spherical granules loaded with short, dotted filaments. The matrix is composed of thick banded lucent fibrils in a loose feltwork of short, dotted filaments. The cells arising from mitosis undergo endochondral differentiation, which begins in the lower part of the flattened cell layer and is completed in the upper hypertrophic cell layer; it is followed by gradual cell degeneration in the lower hypertrophic cell layer. The cells produce two main types of secretory granules: type b as above; and type c, ovoid granules containing 300-nm-long threads associated with short, dotted filaments. A possibly different secretory granule, type d, dense and cigar-shaped, is also produced. The matrix is composed of thin banded fibrils in a dense feltwork. In the matrix of the superficial layers, the lucency of the fibrils indicated that they were composed of collagen I, whereas the lucency of the cylindrical secretory granules suggested that they transported collagen I precursors to the matrix. Moreover, the use of ruthenium red indicated that the feltwork was composed of proteoglycan; the dotted filaments packed in spherical granules were similar to, and presumably the source of, the matrix feltwork. The superficial layers did not contain collagen II and were collectively referred to as perichondrium. In the deep layers, the ovoid secretory granules displayed collagen II antigenicity and were likely to transport precursors of this collagen to the matrix, where it appeared in the thin banded fibrils. That these granules also carried proteoglycan to the matrix was suggested by their content of short dotted filaments. Thus the deep layers contained collagen II and proteoglycan as in cartilage; they were collectively referred to as the hyaline cartilage region.





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The American Journal Of Anatomy, v. 190, n. 1, p. 41-73, 1991.

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