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Collagen alpha-1(IX) chain precursor


Enhanced tissue regeneration potential of juvenile articular cartilage.

Articular cartilage undergoes substantial age-related changes in molecular composition, matrix structure, and mechanical properties. These age-related differences between juvenile and adult cartilage manifest themselves as markedly distinct potentials for tissue repair and regeneration. To compare the biological properties and tissue regeneration capabilities of juvenile and adult bovine articular cartilage. Controlled laboratory study. Articular cartilage harvested from juvenile (age, 4 months) and adult (age, 6-8 years) bovine femoral condyles was cultured for 4 weeks to monitor chondrocyte migration, glycosaminoglycan content conservation, and new tissue formation. The cartilage cell density and proliferative activity were also compared. Additionally, the effects of age-related changes on cartilage gene expression were analyzed using the Affymetrix GeneChip array. Compared with adult cartilage, juvenile bovine cartilage demonstrated a significantly greater cell density, higher cell proliferation rate, increased cell outgrowth, elevated glycosaminoglycan content, and enhanced matrix metallopeptidase 2 activity. During 4 weeks in culture, only juvenile cartilage was able to generate new cartilaginous tissues, which exhibited pronounced labeling for proteoglycan and type II collagen but not type I collagen. With over 19,000 genes analyzed, distinctive gene expression profiles were identified. The genes mostly involved in cartilage growth and expansion, such as COL2A1, COL9A1, MMP2, MMP14, and TGFB3, were upregulated in juvenile cartilage, whereas the genes primarily responsible for structural integrity, such as COMP, FN1, TIMP2, TIMP3, and BMP2, were upregulated in adult cartilage. As the first comprehensive comparison between juvenile and adult bovine articular cartilage at the tissue, cellular, and molecular levels, the results strongly suggest that juvenile cartilage possesses superior chondrogenic activity and enhanced regenerative potential over its adult counterpart. Additionally, the differential gene expression profiles of juvenile and adult cartilage suggest possible mechanisms underlying cartilage age-related changes in their regeneration capabilities, structural components, and biological properties. The results of this comparative study between juvenile and adult bovine articular cartilage suggest an enhanced regenerative potential of juvenile cartilage tissue in the restoration of damaged articular cartilage.

MeSH Terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Cartilage, Articular
  • Cattle
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chondrocytes
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Regeneration


  • adult
  • aging
  • articular cartilage
  • biology of cartilage
  • bovine
  • cartilage regeneration
  • cartilage repair
  • chondrocyte
  • gene expression
  • juvenile
  • knee
  • migration