A single, functional, mitotically quiescent chondrocyte may be induced to reenter the mitotic cyde, and produce a progeny of over 1011 cells. Sessile, adherent, polygonal cells deposit matrix, whereas amoeboid, dispersed, flattened fibroblastic cells do not. The prior synthetic history of a cell is of greater importance in determining whether the characteristic chondrogenic phenotype will be expressed, rather than growth in "permissive" or "nonpermissive" medium. Clonal conditions select for stem-like cells, some of whose progeny may become polygonal chondrocytes. The retention of the characteristic chondrogenic phenotype in vitro is favored by pruning the dedifferentiated chondrocytes which arise in these cultures. Dedifferentiated chondrocytes interfere with the deposition and synthesis of chondroitin sulfate by neighboring functional chondrocytes. Possible mechanisms are proposed to explain this type of cell-cell or cell exudate interference.
If the progeny of a single, genetically programmed chondrocyte may or may not synthesize chondroitin sulfate, then extragenic sites in the cytoplasm or cell surface must influence the decision as to which cluster of "luxur" molecules the cell will synthesize.