Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) has been identified as a secretory protein encoded by an immediate early gene and is a member of the CCN family. In vitro CTGF directly regulates the proliferation and differentiation of chondrocytes; however, a previous study showed that it was localized only in the hypertrophic chondrocytes in the costal cartilages of E 18 mouse embryos. We described the expression of CTGF mRNA and protein in chondrocytes of different types of cartilages, including femoral growth plate cartilage, costal cartilage, femoral articular cartilage, mandibular condylar cartilage, and cartilage formed during the healing of mandibular ramus fractures revealed by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. To characterize the CTGF-expressing cells, we also analyzed the distribution of the type I, type II, and type X collagen mRNA expression. Among these different types of cartilages we found distinct patterns of CTGF mRNA and protein expression. Growth plate cartilage and the costal cartilage showed localization of CTGF mRNA and protein in the hypertrophic chondrocytes that expressed type X collagen mRNA with less expression in proliferating chondrocytes that expressed type II collagen mRNA, whereas it was also expressed in the proliferating chondrocytes that expressed type I collagen mRNA in the condylar cartilage, the articular cartilage, and the cartilage appearing during fracture healing. In contrast, the growth plate cartilages or the costal cartilages were negative for type I collagen and showed sparse expression of CTGF mRNA in the proliferating chondrocytes. We found for the first time that CTGF mRNA could be differentially expressed in five different types of cartilage associated with those expressing type I collagen. Moreover, the spatial distribution of CTGF mRNA in the cartilages with type I collagen mRNA suggested its roles in the early differentiation, as well as in the proliferation and the terminal differentiation, of those cartilages.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism