Localization of collagens and alkaline phosphatase activity during mineralization and ossification of human first rib cartilage

Horst Claassen, Willm Uwe Kampen, Thorsten Kirsch

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The localization of type X collagen and alkaline phosphatase activity was examined in order to gain a better understanding of tissue remodelling during development of human first rib cartilage. First rib cartilages from children and adolescents showed no staining for type X collagen and alkaline phosphatase activity. After onset of mineralization in the late second decade, a peripheral ossification process preceded by mineralized fibrocartilage could be distinguished from a more central one preceded by mineralized hyaline cartilage. No immunostaining for type X collagen was found in either type of cartilage. However, strong staining for alkaline phosphatase activity was detected around chondrocyte-like cells within fibrocartilage adjacent to the peripheral mineralization front, while a weaker staining pattern was observed around chondrocytes of hyaline cartilage near the central mineralization front. In addition, the territorial matrix of some chondrocytes within the hyaline cartilage revealed staining for type I collagen, suggesting that these cells undergo a dedifferentiation process, which leads to a switch from type II to type I collagen synthesis. The study provides evidence that mineralization of the hyaline cartilage areas in human first rib cartilage occurs in the absence of type X collagen synthesis but in the presence of alkaline phosphatase. Thus, mineralization of first rib cartilage seems to follow a different pattern from endochondral ossification in epiphyseal discs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-219
Number of pages7
JournalHistochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Cell Biology


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