Tenascin-C expression controls the maturation of articular cartilage in mice

Bastian L. Gruber, Michael J. Mienaltowski, James N. MacLeod, Johannes Schittny, Stephanie Kasper, Martin Flück

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Expression of the de-adhesive extracellular matrix protein tenascin-C (TNC) is associated with the early postnatal development of articular cartilage which is both load-dependent and associated with chondrocyte differentiation. We assessed morphological changes in the articular cartilage of TNC deficient mice at postnatal ages of 1, 4 and 8 weeks compared to age-matched wildtype mice. Results: Cartilage integrity was assessed based on hematoxylin and eosin stained-sections from the tibial bone using a modified Mankin score. Chondrocyte density and cartilage thickness were assessed morphometrically. TNC expression was localized based on immunostaining. At 8 weeks of age, the formed tangential/transitional zone of the articular cartilage was 27% thicker and the density of chondrocytes in the articular cartilage was 55% lower in wildtype than the TNC-deficient mice. TNC protein expression was associated with chondrocytes. No relevant changes were found in mice at 1 and 4 weeks of age. The findings indicate a role of tenascin-C in the post-natal maturation of the extracellular matrix in articular cartilage. This might be a compensatory mechanism to strengthen resilience against mechanical stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number78
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 17 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant no. 112139) and the French dystrophy association (Grant no. F11878). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • Adhesion
  • Articular cartilage
  • Cartilage defect
  • Cell density
  • Knock-out mouse
  • Load
  • Tenascin C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)


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