Embryonic mouse femoral cartilage, like the epiphyseal cartilage of the calf scapula, contains large amounts of lysozyme. The addition of egg white lysozyme to organ cultures of embryonic mouse femurs induces unique alterations in the gross and microscopic morphology of the femurs. The sites of these alterations are precisely related to the natural distribution of lysozyme in calf scapula. If the exogenous lysozyme is withdrawn from the culture, the morphological changes disappear, accompanied by a resumption or derepression of growth. The effect on growth is evident only in 17-day embryos. These observations support the idea that lysozyme has a physiological role in cartilage, perhaps related to a regulatory mechanism in bone formation.

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