Mineralization and osteogenesis in the human first rib cartilage

Willm Uwe Kampen, Horst Ciaassen, Thorsten Kirsch

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Mineralization and osteogenesis in the human first rib cartilage were studied radiologically and by means of normal and polarized light microscopy. Onset of mineralization occurs at the end of puberty and is located directly beneath the perichondrium. Bone is formed in a typical spur-like pattern, arising medially from the upper edge of the manubrium sterni and laterally from the caudal rim of the bony part of the rib. From the middle of the second decade, large cartilage canals with several blood vessels and loose perivascular connective tissue are seen in central areas of the first costal cartilage. These parts are the last to be mineralized and ossified in old age. The type of osteogenesis cannot be classified according to common patterns. In spite of the subperichondral localization it cannot be intramembranous, because the new bone is separated from the perichondrium by a layer of mineralized cartilage. Osteogenesis cannot be called endochondral compared with the epiphyseal plate for the following reasons: there are no hypertrophied chondrocytes; an immunoreactivity for collagen type X is missing; areas where bone is formed directly on hyaline cartilage could be proved. Vascularization and onset of osteogenesis are separated in time and localization. Mineralization and osteogenesis in human first rib cartilage are physiological age-related changes, which cannot be regarded as degenerative processes. Ossification is not directly correlated with the invasion of blood vessels and cannot be classified as one of the classical concepts of intramembranous or endochondral osteogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-177
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Anatomy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995


  • Ageing
  • Mineralization
  • Osteogenesis
  • Rib cartilage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Developmental Biology


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