Alterations in the expression of osteonectin, osteopontin and osteocalcin mRNAs during the development of skeletal tissues in vivo.Bone Miner 1994; 26(2):109-22BM
Heterogeneity in the expression of three members of non-collagenous matrix proteins in osteogenic and chondrogenic development in vivo were investigated by in situ hybridization. Sections of several skeletal tissues from mice at various stages of development were hybridized with digoxigenin-labeled complementary RNA probes encoding osteonectin (Osn), osteopontin (Osp) and osteocalcin (Osc). In calvariae and mandibulae, Osn messenger RNA (mRNA) was detected in cells in pre-osseous and osseous tissues before mineralization. Osp mRNA was found in cells attached to the mineralized bone matrix together with Osn mRNA followed by the expression Osc mRNA. In long bones, mRNAs for Osn, Osp and Osc were sequentially expressed with bone development from primary spongiosa to diaphyseal bone. In growth cartilage, Osn mRNA was observed in chondrocytes in non-mineralized cartilage, whereas Osp mRNA was detected in hypertrophic chondrocytes in mineralized cartilage matrix with a characteristic switch in expression. Osc mRNA was not detected in any chondrocytes. These results indicate that osteogenic differentiation in bone development in vivo is characterized by the sequential expression of these three genes, and suggest that these genes are expressed differentially and specifically, in association with extra-cellular matrix mineralization.