Embryonic development of articular cartilage has not been well understood and the role of doublecortin (DCX) in determination of chondrocyte phenotype is unknown. Here, we use a DCX promoter-driven eGFP reporter mouse model to study the dynamic gene expression profiles in mouse embryonic handplates at E12.5 to E13.5 when the condensed mesenchymal cells differentiate into either endochondral chondrocytes or joint interzone cells. Illumina microarray analysis identified a variety of genes that were expressed differentially in the different regions of mouse handplate. The unique expression patterns of many genes were revealed. Cytl1 and 3110032G18RIK were highly expressed in the proximal region of E12.5 handplate and the carpal region of E13.5 handplate, whereas Olfr538, Kctd15, and Cited1 were highly expressed in the distal region of E12.5 and the metacarpal region of E13.5 handplates. There was an increasing gradient of Hrc expression in the proximal to distal direction in E13.5 handplate. Furthermore, when human DCX protein was expressed in human adipose stem cells, collagen II was decreased while aggrecan, matrilin 2, and GDF5 were increased during the 14-day pellet culture. These findings suggest that DCX may play a role in defining chondrocyte phenotype.
- Articular cartilage