Matrix vesicles promote mineralization in a gelatin gel

A. L. Boskey, B. D. Boyan, Z. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Extracellular matrix vesicles (MVs) are associated with initial calcification in a variety of tissues, but the mechanisms by which they promote mineralization are not certain. In this study, MVs isolated from fourth passage rat growth plate chondrocyte cultures were included within a gelatin gel into which calcium and phosphate ions diffused from opposite ends. In this gel, apatite formation occurs by 3.5 days in the absence of mineralization promoters, allowing measurement of the ability of different factors to 'nucleate' apatite before this time or to assess the effects of molecules which modulate the rate and extent of mineral deposition. Mineral ion accumulation and crystal type are assayed at 5 days. In this study, MV protein content in the central band of a 10% gelatin gel was varied by including 100 α1 of a Tris-buffered solution containing 0-300 αg/ml MV protein. There was a concentration-dependent increase in mineral accretion. Whereas l0 αg MV protein in the gel did not significantly promote apatite formation as compared with vesicle-free gels, 20 and 30 αg MV protein in the gel did promote apatite deposition. Inclusion of l0 mM β-glycerophosphate in the gels, along with MVs, did not significantly increase apatite formation despite the demonstrable alkaline phosphatase activity of the MVs. In contrast, MVs at all concentrations significantly increased apatite accumulation when proteoglycan aggregates or ATP, inhibitors of apatite formation and proliferation, were included in the gel. Slight increases in calcium, but not phosphate accumulation, were also noted when an ionophore was included with the MVs to facilitate Ca ion transport into the vesicles. FT-IR analysis of the mineral formed in the vesicle containing gels revealed the presence of a bone-like apatite. These data suggest that MVs facilitate mineralization by providing enzymes that modify inhibitory factors in the extracellular matrix, as well as by providing a protected environment in which mineral ions can accumulate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-315
Number of pages7
JournalCalcified tissue international
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1997


  • Apatite
  • Chondrocyte
  • Matrix vesicles
  • Mineralization in vitro
  • Proteoglycans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Matrix vesicles promote mineralization in a gelatin gel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this