Changes in extracellular matrix vesicles during healing of rat tibial bone: A morphometric and biochemical study

Z. Schwartz, J. Sela, V. Ramirez, D. Amir, B. D. Boyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Primary mineral formation in woven bone has been associated with the production of extracellular matrix vesicles. Previous studies have demonstrated an increase in phospholipid: Ca:Pi complexes (CPLX) immediately prior to hydroxyapatite formation. Since matrix vesicles are enriched in phosphatidylserine and PS is the major phospholipid in CPLX, the present study examined whether the morphologic appearance of matrix vesicles and initial formation of crystals within them could be correlated to changes in their phospholipid composition and metabolism. Ablation of the tibial marrow in rats was used as the model since this procedure induces endosteal repair with primary mineralization. The morphologic appearance of the matrix vesicles was assessed by morphometric analysis at the electron microscopic level. Matrix vesicles were divided into 4 categories: empty, amorphic, crystal, and rupture. There was time dependent decrease in the number of empty and amorphic matrix vesicles which correlated with an increase in crystal and rupture type. Distance from the calcification front decreased as more rupture-type vesicles were noted. In a parallel set of experiments, matrix vesicle-enriched membranes (MVEM) were isolated from homogenates of endosteal tissue removed from the treated tibia as well as from the contralateral control. There was an increase at 6 days in MVEM alkaline phosphatase and phospholipase A2 specific activities in both limbs, the magnitude of response being significantly greater in the treated legs. The phospholipid composition of the MVEM changed with time. SPH was highest at day 3, PS was detectable only in day 6 and 14 samples, and PC exhibited a time dependent decrease. Both treatment and control legs were affected although the changes were most dramatic in the treated leg. The data indicate that morphologic and biochemical changes associated with matrix vesicle mediated calcification occur in woven bone repair. There appears to be a systemic effect of marrow ablation that influences specific cellular metabolism at sites distant from the site of injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-60
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989


  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Bone healing
  • Matrix vesicles
  • Mineralization
  • Phosphatidylserine
  • Phospholipase A
  • Phospholipid
  • TEM-morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


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