A study of the distribution of extracellular matrix vesicles during the first 3 weeks of healing of adult rat tibial bone was performed by transmission electron microscopy in combination with computerized morphometry. Bone injury comprised removal of the marrow followed by regeneration of the tissue via a phase of primary mineralization. A total number of 39,498 vesicles were traced on electron micrographs and sorted according to their diameters, distance from the calcified front and types. The different vesicular types were defined as follows: (a) vesicles with electron lucent contents, i.e. "empty", (b) vesicles with amorphous electron opaque contents, i.e. "amorphic", (c) vesicles containinhg crystalline depositions, i.e. "crystal", and (d) vesicles containing crystalline structures with ruptured membranes i.e. "rupture". The vesicles were studied on the days 3, 6, 14 and 21 after bone injury. Most of the vesicles were concentrated between diameters of 0.07 and 0.17 μm. Most of the vesicles were found in a distance less than 3 μm from the calcified front. The sequence of changes of distances from the calcified front and of the vesicular diameters were recorded as follows: "rupture", "crystal", "amorphic" and "empty", the "rupture" type being the closest to the front and of the largest diameter in each day. The results of the present study confirm the accepted hypothesis on calcification via extracellular matrix vesicles. It is thought that the cell secretes "empty" vesicles that accumulate Ca and Pi forming amorphous calcium phosphate that is then converted to hydroxyapatite. This is followed by rupture of the vesicular membrane. The maturation of the process herein on each day is accompanied by increase in the vesicular diameter and its approximation to the calcified front. With the propagation of healing the vesicles of all types decreased in diameter and distance from the calcified front. This process is accompanied by increase in the number of the mature vesicles and decrease in the number of the young vesicles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism