Hereditary multiple exostoses (HME), an autosomal skeletal disorder characterized by cartilage-capped excrescences, has been ascribed to mutations in EXT 1 and EXT 2, two tumor suppressor-related genes encoding glycosyltransferases involved in the heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) biosynthesis. Taking advantage of the availability of three different exostoses from a patient with HME harboring a premature termination codon in the EXT 1 gene, morphological, immunologic, and biochemical analyses of the samples were carried out. The cartilaginous exostosis, when compared with control cartilage, exhibited alterations in the distribution and morphology of chondrocytes with abundant bundles of actin filaments indicative of cytoskeletal defects. Chondrocytes in the exostosis were surrounded by an extracellular matrix containing abnormally high amounts of collagen type X. The unexpected presence of collagen type I unevenly distributed in the cartilage matrix further suggested that some of the hypertrophic chondrocytes detected in the cartilaginous caps of the exostoses underwent accelerated differentiation. The two mineralized exostoses presented lamellar bone arrangement undergoing intense remodeling as evidenced by the presence of numerous reversal lines. The increased electrophoretic mobility of chondroitin sulfate and dermatan sulfate proteoglycans (PGs) extracted from the two bony exostoses was ascribed to an absence of the decorin core protein. Altogether, these data indicate that EXT mutations might induce a defective endochondral ossification process in exostoses by altering actin distribution and chondrocyte differentiation and by promoting primary calcification through decorin removal.