Growth plates taken from five- to 20-week-old Japanese white rabbits were immunostained for c-Myc protein. This was localised both in the proliferating zone and upper hypertrophic zone at five weeks, whereas after ten weeks it was found mostly in the lower hypertrophic zone. The proliferating chondrocytes tended to show nuclear staining and the hypertrophic cells cytoplasmic staining, although the terminal hypertrophic chondrocytes sometimes expressed the protein in their nuclei. In the younger rabbits, c-Myc co-localised with proliferating cell nuclear antigen, whereas in the hypertrophic zone of older rabbits, it was present in some chondrocytes the nuclei of which also contained DNA breaks. Our study suggests that, in the rabbit growth plate, c-Myc is associated with different cellular processes, depending on the age and the developmental stage of the chondrocytes.
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