Matrix vesicles are enriched in metalloproteinases that degrade proteoglycans

David D. Dean, Zvi Schwartz, Ofelia E. Muniz, Ruben Gomez, Larry D. Swain, David S. Howell, Barbara D. Boyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


This study examined the presence of extracellular matrix processing enzymes in matrix vesicles produced by rat costochondral resting zone and growth zone chondrocytes in culture. Optimum procedures for the extraction of each enzyme activity were determined. Enzyme activity associated with chondrocyte plasma membrane microsomes was used for comparison. There was a differential distribution of the enzyme activities related to the cartilage zone from which the cells were isolated. Acid and neutral metalloproteinase (TIMP), plasminogen activator, and betaglucuronidase were highest in the growth zone chondrocyte (GC) membrane fractions when compared with matrix vesicles and plasma membranes isolated from resting zone chondrocyte (RC) cultures. There was a threefold enrichment of total and active acid metalloproteinase in GC matrix vesicles, whereas no enrichment in enzyme activity was observed in RC matrix vesicles. Total and active neutral metalloproteinase were similarly enriched twofold in GC matrix vesicles. TIMP, plasminogen activator, and betaglucuronidase activities were highest in the plasma membranes of both cell types. No collagenase, lysozyme, or hyaluronidase activity was found in any of the membrane fractions. The data indicate that matrix vesicles are selectively enriched in enzymes which degrade proteoglycans. The highest concentrations of these enzymes are found in matrix vesicles produced by growth zone chondrocytes, suggesting that this may be a mechanism by which the more differentiated cell modulates the matrix for calcification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-349
Number of pages8
JournalCalcified tissue international
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992


  • Chondrocyte cultures
  • Matrix vesicles
  • Metalloproteinase
  • Plasminogen activator
  • TIMP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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