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Canonical Wnt signaling activity during synovial joint development


Wnt signaling plays important roles in skeletal development. However, the activation and function of canonical Wnt signaling in joint development remains unclear. We analyzed the lineage identity and developmental changes of the Wnt-responsive cells during synovial joint formation as well as adulthood in the Wnt signaling reporter TOPgal transgenic mice. At embryonic day (E) 12.5, we found that the TOPgal was inactivated in the presumptive joint forming interzone, but it was intensively activated in the cartilage anlage of developing long bones and digits. At E14.5, the TOPgal activity was found in a subgroup of the articular chondrocyte lineage cells, which were co-immunolabeled with Doublecortin intensively and with Vinculin weakly. At E18.5, the TOPgal/Doublecortin co-immunolabeled cells were found in the superficial layer of the developing articular cartilage. During postnatal development, the TOPgal(+) articular chondrocytes were abundant at P7 and decreased from P10. A small number of TOPgal(+) articular chondrocytes were also found in adult joints. Our study suggests an age- and lineage-specific role of canonical Wnt signaling in joint development and maintenance.

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