Septal distribution and the relationship of matrix vesicle size to cartilage mineralization

Bone Miner. 1988 Apr;4(1):63-71.


To estimate matrix vesicle distribution between longitudinal and transversal septal matrix in the proliferative, hypertrophic and calcifying zones of normal epiphyseal cartilage, the volume density of matrix vesicles in the longitudinal septal matrix was compared to that of total extralacunar matrix. The results confirm the qualitative observation by Anderson that matrix vesicles are located mainly in the longitudinal septa. To elucidate whether cartilage mineralization can be related to the disappearance of matrix vesicles of particular size classes, epiphyseal growth cartilage from three groups of animals were studied: normal rats, rats with florid rickets and rats with early healing rickets. The study was focused on the proliferative, hypertrophic and calcifying zones and in each zone the matrix vesicles were classified into four size classes: 1, less than or equal to 50 nm; 2, 51-67 nm; 3, 68-84 nm; 4, greater than or equal to 85 nm. The results show that the decrease in volume density previously demonstrated in normal rats to a large extent is due to a decreased number of larger vesicles. In florid rickets the decrease in this size group is much smaller while the values for healing rachitic animals fall between those of florid rachitic rats and those of controls. The data indicate that the decrease in the number of larger vesicles, which represents a considerable vesicle volume, is of particular importance. The heterogenous change in the concentration of matrix vesicles of different size classes during cartilage mineralization as well as under conditions of arrested calcification, is compatible with the existence of a matrix vesicle subpopulation of larger size.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extracellular Matrix / ultrastructure*
  • Growth Plate / metabolism
  • Growth Plate / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Minerals / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rickets / pathology


  • Minerals