Local regulation of growth plate cartilage

Endocr Dev. 2011;21:12-22. doi: 10.1159/000328084. Epub 2011 Aug 22.


Elongation of bones primarily occurs by endochondral ossification at the growth plate. In the growth plate, stem-like cells in the resting zone differentiate into rapidly dividing chondrocytes in the proliferative zone and then terminally differentiate into nondividing chondrocytes of the hypertrophic zone. The hypertrophic zone is then invaded by blood vessels and bone cell precursors, which remodel the newly formed cartilage into bone. The net effect is that new bone tissue is progressively generated at the bottom of the growth plate, resulting in bone elongation. The process of longitudinal bone growth is governed by a complex network of paracrine signals that maintain the unique structure and cellular kinetics of the growth plate. Recent progress in the understanding of important paracrine signals that regulate growth plate cartilage will be reviewed in this chapter.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Development / drug effects
  • Bone Development / genetics
  • Bone Development / physiology
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / genetics
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Growth Plate / cytology*
  • Growth Plate / growth & development*
  • Growth Plate / metabolism*
  • Growth Plate / physiology
  • Hedgehog Proteins / genetics
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism
  • Hedgehog Proteins / pharmacology
  • Hedgehog Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Paracrine Communication / genetics
  • Paracrine Communication / physiology*
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / genetics
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / metabolism
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / pharmacology
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / physiology


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors