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Dentin sialophosphoprotein (DSPP), which expresses and synthesizes in odontoblasts of dental pulp, is a critical protein for normal teeth mineralization. Originally, DSPP was identified as a dentin-specific protein. In 2010, DSPP was also found in femoral head cartilage, and it is still unclear what roles DSPP play in femoral head cartilage formation, growth, and maintenance. To reveal biological functions of DSPP in the femoral head cartilage, we examined Dspp null mice compared with wild-type (WT) mice to observe DSPP expression as well as localization in WT mice and to uncover differences of femoral head cartilage, bone morphology, and structure between these two kinds of mice. Expression data demonstrated that DSPP had heterogeneous fragments, expressed in each layer of femoral head cartilage and subchondral bone of WT mice. Dspp null mice exhibited a significant reduction in the thickness of femoral head cartilage, with decreases in the amount of proliferating cartilage cells and increases in apoptotic cells. In addition, the subchondral bone mineralization decreased, and the expressions of vessel markers (vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF] and CD31), osteoblast markers (Osterix and dentin matrix protein 1 [DMP1]), osteocyte marker (sclerostin [SOST]), and osteoclast marker (tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase [TRAP]) were remarkably altered. These indicate that DSPP deletion can affect the proliferation of cartilage cells in the femoral head cartilage and endochondral ossification in subchondral bone. Our data clearly demonstrate that DSPP plays essential roles in the femoral head cartilage growth and maintenance and subchondral biomineralization.


Qilin Liu, Ning Ma, Qinglin Zhu, Xiaoqin Duan, Haibo Shi, Danwei Xiang, Hui Kong, Hongchen Sun. Dentin Sialophosphoprotein Deletion Leads to Femoral Head Cartilage Attenuation and Subchondral Bone Ill-mineralization. The journal of histochemistry and cytochemistry : official journal of the Histochemistry Society. 2020 Oct;68(10):703-718

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PMID: 32921220

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