Systemic and Local Regulation of the Growth Plate

B. C.J. Van Der Eerden, M. Karperien, J. M. Wit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlePopular

427 Citations (Scopus)


The growth plate is the final target organ for longitudinal growth and results from chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation. During the first year of life, longitudinal growth rates are high, followed by a decade of modest longitudinal growth. The age at onset of puberty and the growth rate during the pubertal growth spurt (which occurs under the influence of estrogens and GH) contribute to sex difference in final height between boys and girls. At the end of puberty, growth plates fuse, thereby ceasing longitudinal growth. It has been recognized that receptors for many hormones such as estrogen, GH, and glucocorticoids are present in or on growth plate chondrocytes, suggesting that these hormones may influence processes in the growth plate directly. Moreover, many growth factors, i.e., IGF-I, Indian hedgehog, PTHrP, fibroblast growth factors, bone morphogenetic proteins, and vascular endothelial growth factor, are now considered as crucial regulators of chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation. In this review, we present an update on the present perception of growth plate function and the regulation of chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation by systemic and local regulators of which most are now related to human growth disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-801
Number of pages20
JournalEndocrine Reviews
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


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