J Orthop Res 2012 Dec 1;30(12):1906-14. Epub 2012 Jun 1.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Lerner Research Institute, A41, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.
Disrupting the Wnt Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signaling pathway in vivo results in loss of columnar growth plate architecture, but it is unknown whether activation of this pathway in vitro is sufficient to promote column formation. We hypothesized that activation of the Wnt PCP pathway in growth plate chondrocyte cell pellets would promote columnar organization in these cells that are normally oriented randomly in culture. Rat growth plate chondrocytes were transfected with plasmids encoding the Fzd7 cell-surface Wnt receptor, a Fzd7 deletion mutant lacking the Wnt-binding domain, or Wnt receptor-associated proteins Ror2 or Vangl2, and then cultured as three-dimensional cell pellets in the presence of recombinant Wnt5a or Wnt5b for 21 days. Cellular morphology was evaluated using histomorphometric measurements. Activation of Wnt PCP signaling components promoted the initiation of columnar morphogenesis in the chondrocyte pellet culture model, as measured by histomorphometric analysis of the column index (ANOVA p = 0.01). Activation of noncanonical Wnt signaling through overexpression of both the cell-surface Wnt receptor Fzd7 and receptor-associated protein Ror2 with addition of recombinant Wnt5a promotes the initiation of columnar architecture of growth plate chondrocytes in vitro, representing an important step toward growth plate regeneration.