Culture and differentiation of chondrocytes entrapped in alginate gels

M. Grandolfo*, P. D'Andrea, S. Paoletti, M. Martina, G. Silvestrini, E. Bonucci, F. Vittur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


We studied the response to culture conditions and the differentiative ability in suspension culture in alginate gels of resting chondrocytes from the preosseous cartilage of adult pig scapula. It was found that the maximum rate of chondrocyte duplication is reached at the fourth day in culture whereas the rate of proteoglycan synthesis and alkaline phosphatase expression do not gain a maximum value before the seventh day. During the culture time, the chondrocytes undergo differentiation as it is demonstrated by the alkaline phosphatase specific activity increase and by morphological criteria (hypertrophy, increase of the number of mitochondria per cell, increased endoplasmic reticulum, matrix vesicle production). The alginate gels can be easily dissolved to obtain cell populations in which the variation of cytosolic calcium concentration following a proliferative stimulus can be conveniently observed using the conventional procedure of Fura 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-48
Number of pages7
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


  • Alginate
  • Chondrocytes
  • Differentiation
  • Fura 2
  • Suspension cultures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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