Human articular chondrocytes acquire 1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D-3 receptors in culture

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1987 Oct 22;931(1):26-32. doi: 10.1016/0167-4889(87)90046-2.


The vitamin D endocrine system is crucial in calcium homeostasis in mammalian species. Central to this role 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-3 (1,25-(OH)2D3) receptors have been detected in freshly isolated osteoblast-like bone cells and it has been shown that the active metabolite of vitamin D-3 1,25-(OH)2D3, increases bone resorption in vitro and in vivo. The requirement of 1,25-(OH)2D3 for the normal development of growth plate cartilage can be seen in vitamin D deficient rickets. However, there is still considerable controversy regarding the presence of 1,25-(OH)2D3 receptors in chondrocytes. In this paper, we report the presence of a 3.5-S 1,25-(OH)2D3-binding macromolecule in freshly isolated human costal but not articular chondrocytes. After subculture, both articular and costal chondrocytes have receptors. Saturation binding analysis revealed a single class of binding sites with an apparent Kd of 0.09 nM and approx. 2700 receptor molecules per cell for articular chondrocytes and a Kd of 0.1 nM and approx. 2000 receptor molecules per cell for costal chondrocytes. The presence of 1,25-(OH)2D3 receptors did not correlate with the switch from synthesis of cartilage-specific type II collagen to types I and III collagens. The acquisition of 1,25-(OH)2D3 receptors by articular chondrocytes may, therefore, be another phenotypic characteristic of cultured cells or may appear in vivo when chondrocytes are exposed to vascular or inflammatory cell products.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Cartilage / metabolism*
  • Cartilage, Articular / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Collagen / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Receptors, Steroid / analysis
  • Receptors, Steroid / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Collagen
  • Calcitriol