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The urokinase plasminogen activator (u-PA) and its inhibitor (PAI-1) in embryo-fetal bone formation in the human: an immunohistochemical study

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Abstract

The role of urokinase plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in human embryofetal bone formation between the 9th and the 20th week of gestation has been studied immunohistochemically. While mature osteocytes of the secondary spongiosa and resting chondrocytes of the bone epiphyses were negative for both antigens in each developmental stage, metabolically active parts of the osseocartilaginous system showed a strong immunoreactivity. Until the end of the 10th week of gestation urokinase plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 could not be demonstrated in the shaft of the preexisting cartilaginous models of bones, which correlates with the morphological developmental stage of the embryos. Later, osteoblasts and chondrocytes in the areas of enchondral ossification, and the perivascular chondrocytes of the epiphyseal secondary ossification centres, showed similarly high concentrations of urokinase plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1. Moreover, the individual ossification stages of the different bones in embryo-fetal development could be demonstrated immunohistochemically. While humeri and femora showed diaphyseal immunoreactivities at an early stage, positive reactions in the phalanges were found only much later. Thus, the enzymes of the fibrinolytic system studied are clearly involved in the desmal and enchondral ossification process in the osseocartilaginous compartment.

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Correspondence to C. Häckel.

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Häckel, C., Radig, K., Röse, I. et al. The urokinase plasminogen activator (u-PA) and its inhibitor (PAI-1) in embryo-fetal bone formation in the human: an immunohistochemical study. Anat Embryol 192, 363–368 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00710105

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Key words

  • Plasminogen activator
  • Plasminogen activator inhibitor
  • Bone formation