Type X collagen expression in osteoarthritic and rheumatoid articular cartilage

T. Aigner, E. Reichenberger, W. Bertling, T. Kirsch, H. Stöß, K. von der Mark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Type X collagen is a short chain, non-fibrilforming collagen synthesized primarily by hypertrophic chondrocytes in the growth plate of fetal cartilage. Previously, we have also identified type X collagen in the extracellular matrix of fibrillated, osteoarthritic but not in normal articular cartilage using biochemical and immunohistochemical techniques (von der Mark et al. 1992 a). Here we compare the expression of type X with types I and II collagen in normal and degenerate human articular cartilage by in situ hybridization. Signals for cytoplasmic α1(X) collagen mRNA were not detectable in sections of healthy adult articular cartilage, but few specimens of osteoarthritic articular cartilage showed moderate expression of type X collagen in deep zones, but not in the upper fibrillated zone where type X collagen was detected by immunofluorescence. This apparent discrepancy may be explained by the relatively short phases of type X collagen gene activity in osteoarthritis and the short mRNA half-life compared with the longer half-life of the type X collagen protein. At sites of newly formed osteophytic and repair cartilage, α1(X) mRNA was strongly expressed in hypertrophic cells, marking the areas of endochondral bone formation. As in hypertrophic chondrocytes in the proliferative zone of fetal cartilage, type X collagen expression was also associated with strong type II collagen expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-211
Number of pages7
JournalVirchows Archiv B Cell Pathology Including Molecular Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1993


  • Articular cartilage
  • Collagen Type X
  • Immunofluorescence
  • In situ hybridization
  • Osteoarthritis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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