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GP Thomas, SU Baker, JA Eisman and EM Gardiner

Osteoblast-osteoclast coordination is critical in the maintenance of skeletal integrity. The modulation of osteoclastogenesis by immature cells of the osteoblastic lineage is mediated through receptor activator of NF kappa B (RANK), its ligand RANKL, and osteoprotegerin (OPG), a natural decoy receptor for RANKL. Here, the expression of OPG and RANKL in primary mouse osteoblastic cultures was investigated to determine whether the osteoclastogenic stimulus depended on the stage of osteoblastic differentiation and the presence of the calciotrophic hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25-(OH)(2)D(3)). OPG mRNA expression was increased in osteoblastic cultures after the onset of mineralisation relative to less mature cultures, but did not alter in response to 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3) treatment. In contrast, basal RANK L mRNA expression did not change during differentiation but was significantly enhanced by 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3) treatment at all times. The stimulatory effects of 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3) on RANKL were lessened in more mature cultures, however. The RANKL/OPG ratio, an index of osteoclastogenic stimulus, was therefore increased by 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3) treatment at all stages of osteoblastic differentiation, but to a lesser degree in cultures after the onset of mineralisation. Thus the 1,25-(OH)(2)D(3)-driven increase in osteoclastogenic potential of immature osteoblasts appears to be mediated by increased RANKL mRNA expression, with mature osteoblasts having relatively decreased osteoclastogenic activity due to increased OPG mRNA expression. These findings suggest a possible mechanism for the recently proposed negative regulatory role of mature osteoblasts on osteoclastogenesis and indicate that the relative proportions of immature and mature osteoblasts in the local microenvironment may control the degree of resorption at each specific bone site.

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A Scarlett, M P Parsons, P L Hanson, K K Sidhu, T P Milligan and J M Burrin

and initiate rapid activation of MAPK signal transduction cascades in human cell lines. Several in vitro studies have demonstrated direct effects of thyroid hormones on cells of the osteoblast lineage. In response to T 3 , osteoblasts are able to

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M. C. Slootweg, S. C. van Buul-Offers, C. M. Hoogerbrugge, M. P. M. Herrmann-Erlee, A. J. M. van den Eijnden-van Raaij, S. A. Duursma and E. J. J. van Zoelen

ABSTRACT

Bone matrix contains a variety of growth factors, but little is known of osteoblastic production of such materials. The present study assesses growth factor activity, chromatographed on acidic Bio-Gel P-100, secreted into conditioned media of primary cultures of fetal mouse calvaria. The cultures produced insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), determined by radioimmuno-assay of molecular weights 20 and 10 kDa. IGF-II, determined by radioreceptor assay, was present at 20–29 and 7 kDa. The IGF peaks at 20, 10 and 7 kDa were all mitogenic in MCF-7 cells. Proteins of several different molecular weights were also present that specifically bound IGF-I and IGF-II. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), assayed in a system for inhibition of growth, was also produced. Both activated and latent forms were present, and part of the TGF-β was TGF-β2. The absence of mitogenic activity in the bmolecular range of platelet-derived growth factor, assayed in 3T3 fibroblasts, makes it unlikely that mouse osteoblasts produce this growth factor.

Journal of Endocrinology (1990) 124, 301–309

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M.C. Slootweg, A.G.H. Ederveen, L.P.C. Schot, W.G.E.J. Schoonen and H.J. Kloosterboer

ABSTRACT

Oestrogens play an important role in bone metabolism; they preserve bone mass after the menopause. Their action in bone has recently been shown to be, partly, a direct one, as oestrogen receptors and their effects have been demonstrated in bone cells. The role of progestogens in bone metabolism is less clear. In this study it has been shown that 17β-oestradiol exerts only a small, although not significant, stimulatory action with regard to SaOS-2 human osteosarcoma cell proliferation. A pure progestogen (Org 2058) has no effect when added alone. In combination with 17β-oestradiol, however, it has a highly synergistic action on SaOS-2 cell proliferation. The same effect was observed in primary rat osteoblasts, showing that this synergism is a general phenomenon in osteoblastic cells. High numbers of oestrogen and progestogen receptors have been demonstrated in SaOS-2 cells, indicating that the effects of these steroids are mediated via the normal route of steroid receptors. These data provide a cellular basis for the clinically recognized positive effect of oestrogen/progestogen combinations on bone formation.

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K J Oldknow, V E MacRae and C Farquharson

maintenance during adulthood, thus demonstrating true homoeostatic functions. These processes are fully dependent upon two antagonistic cell populations: the osteoblasts and osteoclasts. The primary function of mesenchyme-derived osteoblasts is the deposition

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D Swolin, C Brantsing, G Matejka and C Ohlsson

Abstract

Excess levels of glucocorticoids are known to cause osteoporosis. It is speculated that the effect of glucocorticoids could be mediated via regulation of IGF-I. The aims of the present study were to detect and quantify the expression of IGF-I and/or IGF-II mRNA transcripts in human osteoblast-like cells and to investigate whether glucocorticoids regulate the expression of IGF-I mRNA transcripts in human osteoblast-like cells.

Cultures of human osteoblast-like cells from trabecular bone were established. The IGF-IA and IGF-IB transcripts were detected in human osteoblast-like cells from seven out of nine patients while the IGF-II transcript was detected in human osteoblast-like cells from eight out of nine patients, as determined by RT-PCR assays. Human osteoblast-like cells, as well as human muscle tissue, expressed approximately 1/10 of the IGF-I mRNA levels found in liver, as determined by RNase protection solution hybridization assay. The IGF-I mRNA levels did not decrease with age in the human osteoblast-like cells and no difference was seen between males and females. However, cortisol (10−6 mol/l) decreased IGF-I mRNA levels.

In summary, the present study has shown that human osteoblast-like cells express IGF-I and IGF-II mRNA transcripts and that cortisol down-regulates the IGF-I mRNA levels, indicating that some of the inhibitory effect of glucocorticoids on bone formation in humans is mediated via a reduced autocrine/paracrine expression of IGF-I.

Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 149, 397–403

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KM Wiren, A Chapman Evans and XW Zhang

Significant levels of estrogen and androgens circulate in men and women, and both play an important role in bone metabolism. While it is well established that either estrogen or androgen replacement therapy is effective at ameliorating bone loss associated with hypogonadism, recent evidence nevertheless suggests that estrogen and androgens have distinct molecular actions on the skeleton. In this study, we have employed normal rat calvarial osteoblast cultures to characterize relative expression profiles of estrogen (ERalpha and ERbeta) and androgen receptors (AR) during osteoblast differentiation. Normal osteoblast cultures can proceed through in vitro differentiation with distinct stages of proliferation, matrix maturation and mineralization in the appropriate differentiation medium containing ascorbic acid. Expression profiles of AR, ERalpha and ERbeta in primary cultures during osteoblast differentiation were characterized both by semi-quantitative relative RT-PCR and by Western analysis. In cultures induced to differentiate by growth in the presence of ascorbic acid, the expression profile for each receptor was unique during the course of differentiation. ERalpha levels were elevated during matrix maturation and then declined during mineralization. ERbeta expression was relatively constant throughout differentiation, exhibiting more constitutive expression. In contrast, AR levels were lowest during proliferation, and then increased throughout differentiation with highest levels in the most mature mineralizing cultures. Since steroid hormone action is generally mediated by specific cognate receptors, these results suggest that androgen actions may target cells during the mineralization stage of osteoblast differentiation, while estrogen action through either receptor isoform is more likely to affect osteoblasts earlier during matrix maturation. Interestingly, sex steroid receptor expression profiles did not exhibit the same patterns of regulation if osteoblast cultures were grown without ascorbic acid in medium that did not support extracellular matrix deposition. Thus, sex steroids may distinctly influence skeletal health by differential modulation of function during osteoblast differentiation.

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C E Evans, C Ward and I P Braidman

ABSTRACT

Bone metastases in breast cancer may be osteolytic, osteosclerotic, or a mixture of the two. Although stimulation of bone resorption by breast cancer cells has attracted some interest, the formation of osteosclerotic secondary tumours and the influence of human mammary carcinoma cells on osteoblasts (bone forming cells), both important in understanding breast cancer - bone interactions, have been largely neglected. We therefore examined the effects of conditioned medium (CM) from two cultured human breast cancer cell lines (MCF7 and ZR-75) and from primary cultures of breast carcinomas from two patients, on osteoblasts and recruitment of bone-resorbing cells (osteoclasts) in vitro. Osteoblast-like cells (BDC) were cultured from human trabecular bone explants. Osteoclast maturation was studied in fetal rat calvaria cultured on collagen gels. CM from the MCF-7 line and cells derived from one patient each inhibited BDC DNA synthesis, but stimulated osteoclast recruitment. In contrast, CM from the second patient's cells or ZR-75 enhanced DNA synthesis in BDC, but blocked osteoclast maturation. This suggests that human breast carcinomas secrete soluble factors which influence both osteoclasts and osteoblasts. A further unexpected implication is that mammary carcinoma cells may cause local osteosclerosis by directly stimulating osteoblasts, rather than through raised bone turnover in metastases.

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M.C. Slootweg, S.C. van Buul-Offers, M.P.M. Herrmann-Erlee, J.M. van der Meer and S.A. Duursma

ABSTRACT

More evidence has recently been obtained indicating that growth hormone (GH) has a direct effect on bone. However, it is not clear which cell type reacts to the hormone. The present study used osteoblast-like cells derived from sequentially digested fetal mouse calvaria. Separately cultured tractions resulted in populations enriched in cells with a more or a less differentiated phenotype. The results showed that GH acts on the cells released last, i.e. those with more characteristics of the osteoblast. In these cells, GH induced strong mitogenic activity. Prolactin was not active.

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NO Vidal, H Brandstrom, KB Jonsson and C Ohlsson

Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a recently cloned member of the tumour necrosis factor receptor family. It has been suggested that this secreted glycoprotein acts as an inhibitor of osteoclastic differentiation. Expression of OPG has previously been demonstrated in a number of tissues. However, it is still unclear whether or not OPG is expressed by human osteoblasts. We have used the RNase protection assay to demonstrate the OPG transcript in primary cultured human osteoblast-like cells, human marrow stroma cells and osteosarcoma cell lines. Furthermore, we have studied the effect of glucocorticoids on OPG mRNA levels in these cells. We demonstrate that glucocorticoids decrease the OPG transcript in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The time-course study reveals that hydrocortisone (10(-6) M) decreases OPG mRNA levels within 2 h. This decrease is transient, reaching control levels again after 24 h. Our findings demonstrate that human osteoblasts express the mRNA corresponding to OPG, an inhibitor of osteoclast differentiation. The finding that OPG mRNA levels are decreased by glucocorticoids indicates that a reduced production of OPG from osteoblasts and/or marrow stroma cells could, in part, explain glucocorticoid-induced bone resorption.