Syndecan-3 is a selective regulator of chondrocyte proliferation

Thorsten Kirsch, Eiki Koyama, Mufei Liu, Ellis E. Golub, Maurizio Pacifici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chondrocyte proliferation is important for skeletal development and growth, but the mechanisms regulating it are not completely clear. Previously, we showed that syndecan-3, a cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycan, is expressed by proliferating chondrocytes in vivo and that proliferation of cultured chondrocytes in vitro is sensitive to heparitinase treatment. To further establish the link between syndecan-3 and chondrocyte proliferation, additional studies were carried out in vivo and in vitro. We found that the topographical location of proliferating chondrocytes in developing chick long bones changes with increasing embryonic age and that syndecan-3 gene expression changes in a comparable manner. For in vitro analysis, mitotically quiescent chondrocytes were exposed to increasing amounts of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2). Proliferation was stimulated by as much as 8-10-fold within 24 h; strikingly, this stimulation was significantly prevented when the cells were treated with both fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) and antibodies against syndecan-3 core protein. This neutralizing effect was dose-dependent and elicited a maximum of 50-60% inhibition. To establish specificity of neutralizing effect, cultured chondrocytes were exposed to FGF-2, insulin-like growth factor-1, or parathyroid hormone, all known mitogens for chondrocytes. The syndecan-3 antibodies interfered only with FGF-2 mitogenic action, but not that of insulin-like growth factor-1 or parathyroid hormone. Protein cross-linking experiments indicated that syndecan-3 is present in monomeric, dimeric, and oligomeric forms on the chondrocyte surface. In addition, molecular modeling indicated that contiguous syndecan-3 molecules might form stable complexes by parallel pairing of β-sheet segments within the ectodomain of the core protein. In conclusion, the results suggest that syndecan-3 is a direct and selective regulator of the mitotic behavior of chondrocytes and its role may involve formation of dimeric/oligomeric structures on their cell surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42171-42177
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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