Extracellular matrix vesicle distribution in primary mineralization two weeks after injury to rat tibial bone (ultrastructural tissue morphometry).

Z. Schwartz, D. Amir, H. Weinberg, J. Sela

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11 Scopus citations


Primary mineralization on the 14th day of bone healing served as a model to study the distribution of extracellular matrix vesicles by means of transmission electron microscopy combined with computerized morphometry. Vesicles were traced on electron micrographs and classified according to diameter, distance from the calcified front, and type. The different types were determined as follows: electron-lucent vesicles ("empty"), vesicles with amorphous contents ("amorphic"), vesicles containing crystalline depositions ("crystal"), and vesicles with crystals and ruptured membranes ("rupture"). The majority of the vesicles measured between 0.02 and 0.07 micron and were located at a distance of less than 3 micron from the calcified front. They were distributed according to "empty", "amorphic", "crystal" and "rupture" type in concentrations of 10%, 31%, 51% and 8%, respectively. The diameters of the "rupture" vesicles were significantly larger than those of the "empty" and "amorphic" types. The sequence of their location, starting at the calcified front, ran as follows: "rupture", "crystal", "amorphic" and "empty", with the "rupture" type proximate to the front. According to the working hypothesis on calcification via extracellular matrix vesicles, it is thought that the "empty" vesicles are secreted by the cell and that subsequently amorphous Ca and Pi accumulate intravesicularly to form a hydroxyapatite crystal which, in turn, brings about rupture of the vesicle's membrane. The results of the present study support this theory and, additionally, show that the maturation process is accompanied by an increase of the vesicular diameter and by its approximation to the calcifying front.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean journal of cell biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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