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Sorting of growth plate chondrocytes allows the isolation and characterization of cells of a defined differentiation status

: Belluoccio, D.; Etich, J.; Rosenbaum, S.; Frie, C.; Grskovic, I.; Stermann, J.; Ehlen, H.; Vogel, S.; Zaucke, F.; Mark, K. von der; Bateman, J.F.; Brachvogel, B.


Journal of bone and mineral research : JBMR 25 (2010), No.6, pp.1267-1281
ISSN: 0884-0431
ISSN: 1523-4681
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Axial growth of long bones occurs through a coordinated process of growth plate chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation. This maturation of chondrocytes is reflected in a zonal change in gene expression and cell morphology from resting to proliferative, prehypertrophic, and hypertrophic chondrocytes of the growth plate followed by ossification. A major experimental limitation in understanding growth plate biology and pathophysiology is the lack of a robust technique to isolate cells from the different zones, particularly from small animals. Here, we report on a new strategy for separating distinct chondrocyte populations from mouse growth plates. By transcriptome profiling of microdissected zones of growth plates, we identified novel, zone-specific cell surface markers and used these for flow cytometry and immunomagnetic cell separation to quantify, enrich, and characterize chondrocytes populations with respect to their differentiation status. This approach provid es a novel platform to study cartilage development and characterize mouse growth plate chondrocytes to reveal unique cellular phenotypes of the distinct subpopulations within the growth plate.