The influence of pulsed low-intensity ultrasound on matrix production of chondrocytes at different stages of differentiation: An explant study

Zi Jun Zhang, James Huckle, Clair A. Francomano, Richard G S Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The proximal and distal parts of sterna of chick embryos represent cartilage undergoing endochondral ossification and hyaline cartilage, respectively. Cartilage explants from both regions were exposed for 20 min to pulsed low-intensity ultrasound (PLIUS) with an intensity of 30 mW·cm-2 (spatial average-temporal average) at a frequency of 1.5 MHz, with a pulse burst frequency of 1 kHz and burst duration of 200 μs. Histological and immunohistochemical analysis was performed on days 1, 3, 5 and 7 after treatment. An anabolic effect of PLIUS on matrix production was shown by an increase of up to 10% to 20% in quantitative immunohistochemical staining for type II collagen and aggrecan in the two parts of the sternum. PLIUS also increased type X collagen staining by up to 10% in certain regions of the proximal part of the sternum. Staining for type X collagen was negative in the distal part of the sternum in both PLIUS and control groups. These results suggest that PLIUS may stimulate bone formation by increasing hypertrophy of chondrocytes directed to terminal differentiation. However, PLIUS did not induce hypertrophy in hyaline cartilage; moreover, increased matrix synthesis indicates a potential role in cartilage repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1547-1553
Number of pages7
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes



  • Cartilage
  • Chondrocyte
  • Ossification
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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