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Calcif Tissue Int. 1999 May;64(5):394-401.

Genomic insertion of the SV-40 large T oncogene in normal adult human trabecular osteoblastic cells induces cell growth without loss of the differentiated phenotype.

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  • 1INSERM Unit 349, Cellular & Molecular Biology of Bone and Cartilage, Lariboisiere Hosp. 6, rue Guy Patin, 75475 Paris Cedex 10, France.


In the present study, we established a new adult human trabecular osteoblastic (AHTO) cell line, immortalized by SV-40 Large T (LT) oncogene. From seven proliferative colonies identified, we selected clone 7 with high alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity for further analysis. AHTO-7 cells were able to grow for at least 8 months and 25 passages, with a doubling time of about 22 hours. Immunocytochemistry staining and RT-PCR analysis indicated that the extended life-span of AHTO-7 cells results in genomic insertion of SV-40 LT oncogene. The cells responded to PTH and PGE2 in terms of cAMP accumulation. The time course study, in the presence of 10(-8) M vitamin D3 (vit D3) showed a marked increase (fourfold) in ALP activity with a peak at day 3. Furthermore, in the presence of ascorbic acid (50 microg/ml) and inorganic phosphate (3 mM), AHTO-7 cells produced abundant calcified extracellular matrix, as examined by the von Kossa staining after 2 weeks of culture. Molecular analysis of mRNAs for phenotypic osteoblast markers at day 15 showed the expression of ALP, osteocalcin (OC), and collagen type I (Col I) mRNAs constitutively. Col I expression was inhibited by vit D3 and dexamethasone treatment. In contrast, treatment with vit D3 induced a marked increase of ALP and OC transcripts. Therefore, the immortalized AHTO-7 cells express osteoblast markers that are induced by calciotropic hormones, and constitute a suitable model for identifying specific osteoblastic genes and their regulation during human osteoblast differentiation.

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