The combined cartilage growth – calcification patterns in the wing-fins of Rajidae

Published on
03 August 2022

The combined cartilage growth – calcification patterns in the wing-fins of Rajidae (Chondrichthyes): A divergent model from endochondral ossification of tetrapods

Ugo E. Pazzaglia, Marcella Reguzzoni, Renata Manconi, Piero Antonio Zecca, Guido Zarattini, Monica Campagnolo, Mario Raspanti


The relationship between cartilage growth – mineralization patterns were studied in adult Rajidae with X-ray morphology/morphometry, undecalcified resin-embedded, heat-deproteinated histology and scanning electron microscopy. Morphometry of the wing-fins, nine central rays of the youngest and oldest specimens documented a significant decrement of radials mean length between inner, middle and outer zones, but without a regular progression along the ray. This suggests that single radial length growth is regulated in such a way to align inter-radial joints parallel to the wing metapterygia curvature. Trans-illumination and heat-deproteination techniques showed polygonal and cylindrical morphotypes of tesserae, whose aligned pattern ranged from mono-columnar, bi-columnar, and multi-columnar up to the crustal-like layout. Histology of tessellated cartilage allowed to identify of zones of the incoming mineral deposition characterized by enhanced duplication rate of chondrocytes with the formation of isogenic groups, whose morphology and topography suggested a relationship with the impending formation of the radials calcified column. The morphotype and layout of radial tesserae were related to mechanical demands (stiffening) and the size/mass of the radial cartilage body. The cartilage calcification pattern of the batoids model shares several morphological features with tetrapods’ endochondral ossification, that is, (chondrocytes’ high duplication rate, alignment in rows, increased volume of chondrocyte lacunae), but without the typical geometry of the metaphyseal growth plates.

Microscopy Research and Technique, 1– 11. DOI: 10.1002/jemt.24217


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