Immunohistochemical localization of osteogenetic protein (OP-1) and its receptors in rabbit articular cartilage

Carol Muehleman, Klaus E. Kuettner, David C. Rueqer, Peter Ten Dijke, Susan Chubinskaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We assessed the distribution and relative immunohistochemical staining intensity of the bone morphogenetic protein-7, osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1), in its pro- and mature forms, and four of its receptors, type I (ALK-2, ALK-3, and ALK-6) and type II in normal adolescent New Zealand White rabbit articular cartilage. Expression of the protein and its receptors was also examined in cartilage from joints that had been previously subjected to cartilage matrix degradation. Pro-OP-1 was moderately expressed in chondrocytes of the superficial, middle, and deep cartilage zones and in the osteocytes. The expression of mature OP-1 was similar, with the exception of less staining in the superficial zone of cartilage. Expression of these two forms of OP-1 was enhanced in the middle and deep cartilage zones after catabolic challenge. The type I receptor, ALK-6, displayed the strongest staining of the receptors in both cartilage and bone, whereas ALK-2 displayed the weakest staining. No differences were observed in the receptor staining levels after catabolic challenge. This study shows that OP-1 and its receptors have been identified in rabbit articular cartilage and bone, suggesting a possible role for this pathway in cartilage and bone homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1341-1349
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone morphogenetic protein
  • Cartilage
  • OP-1 receptors
  • Osteogenic protein-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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