New developments in the pathogenesis of articular cartilage calcification

Curr Rheumatol Rep. 1999 Dec;1(2):121-7. doi: 10.1007/s11926-999-0008-2.


Articular cartilage, unlike growth plate cartilage, is specialized to not undergo matrix calcification. However, articular cartilage mineralization, in the form of CPPD (chondrocalcinosis) and hydroxyapatite crystals, frequently accompanies and complicates osteoarthritis and aging. Recent work has demonstrated that certain features of growth cartilage development and mineralization are shared in degenerative cartilage. These include chondrocyte proliferation, hypertrophy and increased apoptosis. Moreover, parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP), one of the central mediators of endochondral development, is abundant in osteoarthritic cartilage. Cartilage PPi elaboration and cytosolic transglutaminase activity are markedly increased with aging. Only recently have the molecular identities been defined for the chondrocyte inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi)-generating isozymes of the phosphodiesterase nucleotide pyrophosphatase (PDNP) family (including PC-1 and B10), and for transglutaminase in articular cartilage. This review focuses on the evolving understanding of the potential roles, in articular cartilage calcification, of PTHrP, PDNP family enzymes, PPi metabolism, and transglutaminase activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Calcinosis / diagnosis
  • Calcinosis / etiology*
  • Calcinosis / metabolism
  • Calcium Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / etiology*
  • Osteoarthritis / metabolism*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Calcium Phosphates
  • alpha-tricalcium phosphate
  • tetracalcium phosphate
  • calcium phosphate, monobasic, anhydrous
  • calcium phosphate
  • calcium phosphate, dibasic, anhydrous