Experimentally produced fractures in long bones studied by light and electron microscopic histochemistry were found to heal by a process of enchondral calcification. There was intense proliferation in the cells of the cambium layer of the periosteum, with differentiation to chondroblasts and osteoblasts, suggesting that this layer was the primary tissue responsible for development of the callus. Cytoplasmic processes of the hypertrophic chondrocytes appeared to bud and produce matrix vesicles. Alkaline phosphatase activity was detected along the plasma membrane of the hypertrophic chondrocytes and around the matrix vesicles, before any signs of mineral deposition. Calcification took place by deposition of hydroxyapatite crystals in and around these matrix vesicles which frequently showed alkaline phosphatase activity. It is suggested that there is a close functional association between alkaline phosphatase activity and calcification in the process of fracture, healing, which is another type of enchondral calcification mediated by matrix vesicles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine