Nkx3.2, the vertebrate homologue of Drosophila bagpipe, has been implicated as playing a role in chondrogenic differentiation. In brief, Nkx3.2 is initially expressed in chondrocyte precursor cells and later during cartilage maturation, its expression is diminished in hypertrophic chondrocytes. In addition to Nkx3.2 expression analyses, previous studies using ex vivo chick embryo cultures and in vitro cell cultures have suggested that Nkx3.2 can suppress chondrocyte hypertrophy. However, it has never been demonstrated that Nkx3.2 functions in regulating chondrocyte hypertrophy during cartilage development in vivo. Here, we show that cartilage-specific and Cre-dependent Nkx3.2 overexpression in mice results in significant postnatal dwarfism in endochondral skeletons, while intramembranous bones remain unaltered. Further, we observed significant delays in cartilage hypertrophy in conditional transgenic ciTg-Nkx3.2 mice. Together, these findings confirm that Nkx3.2 is capable of controlling hypertrophic maturation of cartilage in vivo, and this regulation plays a significant role in endochondral ossification and longitudinal bone growth. J. Cell. Physiol. 232: 78–90, 2017.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Cell Biology