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J Histochem Cytochem. 2003 May;51(5):633-41.

Early expression of bone matrix proteins in osteogenic cell cultures.

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  • 1Laboratory for the Study of Calcified Tissues and Biomaterials, Faculty of Dentistry, Université de Montréal, QC, Canada.


Osteogenic cells express some matrix proteins at early culture intervals. The aim of this study was to determine if, and in what proportion, cells used for plating contain bone sialoprotein (BSP) and osteopontin (OPN), two matrix proteins associated with initial events in bone formation. Their pattern of expression, as well as that of fibronectin (FN) and type I pro-collagen, was also examined at 6 hr and at 1 and 3 days. The cells were obtained by enzymatic digestion of newborn rat calvariae, and grown on glass coverslips. Cytocentrifuge preparations of isolated cells and coverslips were processed for single or dual immunolabeling with monoclonal and/or polyclonal primary antibodies, followed by fluorochrome-conjugated antibodies. The cell labeling was mainly associated with perinuclear elements. OPN was also distinctively found at peripheral cytoplasmic sites. About 31% of isolated cells were OPN-positive and 18% were BSP-positive. After 1 day, almost 50% of cells were immunoreactive for OPN and for type I pro-collagen, and still less than 20% reacted for BSP. Approximately 7% exhibited peripheral staining for OPN. Almost all cells were associated with extracellular FN. However, only 15% showed intracellular labeling. These results indicate that an important proportion of cells used for plating contain BSP and OPN, a situation that should be taken into consideration in experimental analyses of osteoblast activity in vitro.

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