The histological disorders related to the focal disappearance of the epiphyseal growth plate were examined histochemically in the proximal tibia of rats administered a high dose of vitamin A. Animals were given 100, 000 IU/100 g body weight/day of vitamin A for 5 days from 4 weeks after birth (VA rats) or given deionized water as control and sacrificed on Day 12 and 19 of the experiment. Tibiae were examined by immunohistochemistry for type I, II and X collagens, lectin-histochemistry for Helix pomatia and backscattered electron imaging. On Day 12, the abnormally developed calcified cartilage matrix was detected within the epiphyseal growth plate in VA rats. The uncalcified cartilage matrix contained type I collagen but lacked type II collagen. In addition, the eroded regions accompanied with numerous osteoclasts and osteoblasts were detected in the epiphyseal growth plate. On day 19, eroded regions penetrated the epiphyseal growth plate to result in its focal disappearances with the eroded surfaces entirely covered with bone tissue in VA rats. These findings suggested that the cartilage matrix of the epiphyseal growth plate was abnormally calcified and showed the phenotypes like bone matrix. The eroded regions of the epiphyseal growth plate seemed to be caused by the invasion of osteoclasts into the altered cartilage matrix and might develop to the focal disappearances by the modeling or remodeling due to action of osteoclasts and osteoblasts.
2000 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science