Skeletal development and growth is now emerging as one of the most exciting areas of current research activity. Evidence generated by an ever growing number of genetic studies indicates that growth is regulated by a large number of genes and that interference with their expression can have catastrophic effects on the well being of the whole organism. With the realization that multiple regulatory pathways exist, work is now focusing on identification of those signals that control the activity of the cells in the epiphyseal growth plate.
A group of individuals included dental and orthopedic researchers examining the regulation of cranialfacial growth and mineralization. The molecular biologists are probing skeletal morphogenesis, the development biologists are studying regulation of the cell cycle, angiogenesis and apoptosis. The group of biochemists is studying the function of collagenous and non-collagenous proteins and the role of growth factors in the cartilage matrix. The last group of mineral biologists is investigating the physical chemistry of the bone mineral and the interaction of matrix vesicles, matrix proteins and mineral components during the calcification process.
The book, which is a compilation of many presentations, has been designed to provide an update on the current state of the field and at the same time to review major topics in growth plate and chondrocyte research.