Tenascin-C expression controls the maturation of articular cartilage in mice

Gruber, Bastian L.; Mienaltowski, Michael J.; MacLeod, James N.; Schittny, Johannes; Kasper, Stephanie; Flück, Martin
February 2020
BMC Research Notes;2/17/2020, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Objective: Expression of the de-adhesive extracellular matrix protein tenascin-C (TNC) is associated with the early postnatal development of articular cartilage which is both load-dependent and associated with chondrocyte differentiation. We assessed morphological changes in the articular cartilage of TNC deficient mice at postnatal ages of 1, 4 and 8 weeks compared to age-matched wildtype mice. Results: Cartilage integrity was assessed based on hematoxylin and eosin stained-sections from the tibial bone using a modified Mankin score. Chondrocyte density and cartilage thickness were assessed morphometrically. TNC expression was localized based on immunostaining. At 8 weeks of age, the formed tangential/transitional zone of the articular cartilage was 27% thicker and the density of chondrocytes in the articular cartilage was 55% lower in wildtype than the TNC-deficient mice. TNC protein expression was associated with chondrocytes. No relevant changes were found in mice at 1 and 4 weeks of age. The findings indicate a role of tenascin-C in the post-natal maturation of the extracellular matrix in articular cartilage. This might be a compensatory mechanism to strengthen resilience against mechanical stress.


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