Immunocytochemistry of matrix proteins in calcified tissues: functional biochemistry on section


The organic matrix of calcified tissues comprises collagenous and/or noncollagenous matrix proteins (NCPs). Identification and precise mapping of these matrix components is essential for determining their function, formulating coherent hypotheses on their mechanism(s) of action, and developing novel therapeutic approaches based on biologics. Fibrillar collagen can be readily identified by its conspicuous structure, however, NCPs, in general, do not individually exhibit characteristic structural features that permit to identify them and morphologically determine their localization. To address this limitation, we have used immunocytochemistry, a form of “biochemistry on section”, to correlate composition with structure. For cytochemical characterizations, including immunolabeling, our laboratory has opted for colloidal gold labelings and pioneered their application to calcified tissues because they yield high spatial resolution and are quantitative. Over the years, this approach has been applied to identify and map various NCPs in bone and teeth and, in this review of our work, we will emphasize some selected studies that highlight it application to also achieve functional information.


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How to Cite
Nanci, A., Wazen, R., Nishio, C., & Zalzal, S. (2009). Immunocytochemistry of matrix proteins in calcified tissues: functional biochemistry on section. European Journal of Histochemistry, 52(4), 201-214.