Parathyroid hormone–related peptide (PTHrP) is a positive regulator of chondrocyte proliferation during bone development. In embryonic mice lacking PTHrP, chondrocytes stop proliferating prematurely, with accelerated differentiation. Because the bone phenotype of mice lacking the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p57Kip2 is the opposite of the PTHrP-null phenotype, we hypothesized that PTHrP’s proliferative actions in chondrocytes might be mediated by opposing p57. We generated p57/PTHrP-null embryos, which showed partial rescue of the PTHrP-null phenotype. There was reversal of the loss of proliferative chondrocytes in most bones, with reversal of the accelerated differentiation that occurs in the PTHrP-null phenotype. p57 mRNA and protein were upregulated in proliferative chondrocytes in the absence of PTHrP. Metatarsal culture studies confirmed the action of PTHrP to decrease p57 mRNA and protein levels in a model in which parathyroid hormone (PTH), used as an analog of PTHrP, increased chondrocyte proliferation rate and the length of the proliferative domain. PTH treatment of p57-null metatarsals had no effect on proliferation rate in round proliferative chondrocytes but still stimulated proliferation in columnar chondrocytes. These studies suggest that the effects of PTHrP on both the rate and extent of chondrocyte proliferation are mediated, at least in part, through suppression of p57 expression.


Helen E. MacLean, Jun Guo, Melissa C. Knight, Pumin Zhang, David Cobrinik, Henry M. Kronenberg


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