Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), beta-catenin, and cadherin are expressed in human bone and cartilage.

H Monaghan, V Bubb, R Sirimujalin, SJ Millward-Sadler, D. Salter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    AIMS: Members of the cadherin and catenin families are involved in chondrogenesis and catenin gene mutations have been detected in malignant tumours of bone. This study was undertaken to assess in detail expression of cadherin, beta-catenin and the associated tumour suppressor gene product APC in bone and cartilage at different stages of human skeletal maturity and in non-neoplastic and neoplastic osteoarticular disease. METHODS AND RESULTS: Immunohistochemical staining of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded normal and osteoarthritic adult articular cartilage, fetal growth plate and a series of tumours of bone and cartilage was undertaken with a panel of antibodies against APC, beta-catenin, and pan-cadherin. This study demonstrated expression of APC, beta-catenin and cadherin in normal and diseased bone and cartilage. APC was present both in osteoblasts and osteoclasts but not in osteocytes. Although only weak APC staining of occasional growth plate hypertrophic chondrocytes and normal articular chondrocytes was seen, APC staining was increased in osteoarthritic articular cartilage. beta-catenin and pan-cadherin staining was strongly positive in osteoclasts and osteoblasts, with expression being lost when bone cells differentiated into osteocytes. Expression of APC, beta-catenin and pan-cadherin in bone tumours was similar to that of non-neoplastic adult tissues. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest previously unrecognized roles for APC in regulation of function of chondrocytes, osteoblasts and osteoclasts and support the view that catenin-cadherin interactions are important in regulation of bone cell activity. Abnormalities of expression or function of these molecules may be important in formation of bone tumours and their clinical behaviour.
    Original languageEnglish
    Volume39( 6)
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


    • biosynthesis: Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Protein
    • Adult
    • metabolism: Bone Neoplasms
    • chemistry: Bone and Bones
    • biosynthesis: Cadherins
    • chemistry: Cartilage
    • biosynthesis: Cytoskeletal Proteins
    • metabolism: Giant Cell Tumors
    • Humans
    • Immunohistochemistry
    • chemistry: Osteoblasts
    • chemistry: Osteoclasts
    • chemistry: Osteocytes
    • metabolism: Osteosarcoma
    • Protein Biosynthesis
    • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
    • Trans-Activators


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