Int. J. Dev. Biol. 52: 63 - 70 (2008)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.072322mc
© UBC Press

Perichondrial-mediated TGF-beta regulation of cartilage growth in avian long bone development

Marsha L. Crochiere, James K. Kubilus and Thomas F. Linsenmayer*

Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

ABSTRACT We previously observed using cultured tibiotarsal long-bone rudiments from which the perichondrium (PC) and periosteum (PO) was removed that the PC regulates cartilage growth by the secretion of soluble negative regulatory factors. This regulation is "precise" in that it compensates exactly for removal of the endogenous PC and is mediated through at least three independent mechanisms, one of which involves a response to TGF-beta. PC cell cultures treated with 2 ng/ml TGF-beta1 produced a conditioned medium which when added to PC/PO-free organ cultures effected precise regulation of cartilage growth. In the present study, we have investigated the possibility that TGF-beta itself might be the negative regulator which is produced by the PC cells in response to their treatment with TGF-beta1. Using a TGF-beta responsive reporter assay, we determined that PC cell cultures, when treated with 2 ng/ml or greater exogenous TGF-beta1, produce 300 pg/ml of active TGF-beta. Then we observed that this concentration (300 pg/ml) of active TGF-beta1, when added to PC/PO-free tibiotarsal organ cultures, effected precise regulation of cartilage growth, whereas concentrations of TGF-beta1 either greater or less than 300 pg/ml produced abnormally small cartilages. These results suggest that one mechanism by which the PC effects normal cartilage growth is through the production of a precisely regulated amount of TGF-beta which the PC produces in response to treatment with exogenous TGF-beta itself.


perichondrium, periosteum, transforming growth factor-beta, tibiotarsus, cartilage

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