Stathmin levels in growth plate chondrocytes are modulated by vitamin D3 metabolites and transforming growth factor-β1 and are associated with proliferation

Thomas W. Hummert, Zvi Schwartz, Victor L. Sylvia, David D. Dean, Barbara D. Boyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Stathmin is a highly conserved, phosphorylated cytosolic protein that is found at decreased levels in all cells as they become more terminally differentiated, or when they decrease in their rate of proliferation. This study examined the hypothesis that stathmin levels in growth plate chondrocytes decreases as endochondral maturation increases. To test this hypothesis, we used a costochondral growth plate chondrocyte cell culture model. Cells derived from the resting zone (RC) express twice as much stathmin mRNA in culture and have twice as much stathmin protein as cells derived from the post proliferative growth zone ([GC]; prehypertrophic and upper hypertrophic cell zones). Stathmin levels in vivo were assessed by immunohistochemistry. To assess the effects of agents that modulate proliferation and differentiation, RC and GC chondrocytes were cultured in the presence of 10-10 to 10-8 M 1 α,25-(OH)2D3, which regulates proliferation in both cell types but affects differentiation of only GC cells, or 10-9 to 10-7 M 24R,25-(OH)2D3, which regulates differentiation and maturation of RC cells but decreases proliferation of GC cells. In addition, RC cells were treated with 0.44 or 0.88 ng/mL of recombinant human transforming growth factor β1 (rhTGF-β1), which stimulates proliferation of RC cells and regulates proteoglycan production, but not alkaline phosphatase activity. Stathmin protein levels were determined using quantitative immunoblots, with recombinant human stathmin as a standard. The results show that stathmin levels are associated with proliferation. Proliferating chondrocytes in vivo exhibited higher levels of immunoreactive stathmin than either RC or GC cells in the growth plate. In culture, 1α,25-(OH)2D3 caused a dose-dependent decrease in stathmin in RC and GC cells within 24 h. 24R, 25-(OH)2D3 also reduced stathmin levels in GC cells within 24 h but only affected RC cells after prolonged exposures (96 h), at which time RC cells express a GC-like phenotype. rhTGF-β1 caused an increase in stathmin levels in RC cells. Stathmin levels are sensitive to protein kinase C (PKC) in other cells. Inhibition of PKC with chelerythrine had no effect on the response of RC cells to 1α,25-(OH)2D3 but it blocked the effect of rhTGF-β1, indicating that decreases in stathmin by vitamin D3 metabolites may not be modulated by PKC, whereas increases in stathmin via rhTGF-β1 may be regulated via a PKC-dependent mechanism. These results support the hypothesis that constitutively expressed levels of stathmin are related to cell maturation state and that they are modulated by factors that regulate proliferation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Chondrocyte cultures
  • Growth plate
  • Stathmin
  • Transforming growth factor-β1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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