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Biochem J. 1985 Mar 15;226(3):789-95.

Vitamin A and bone formation. Effect of an excess of retinol on bone collagen synthesis in vitro.


The influence of an excess of retinol on bone formation was studied by using cultures of embryonic-chick calvaria. Retinol decreased collagen synthesis in a dose-dependent manner, non-collagenous protein synthesis being relatively unaffected. Collagen synthesis was significantly inhibited after 24 h of culture with retinol and was progressively decreased, compared with control cultures containing no retinol, as the period of culture was increased. The effect of retinol on collagen synthesis could be reversed by incubation of calvaria for further periods in retinol-free medium. Incorporation of [3H]thymidine and [3H]uridine into DNA and RNA respectively was not altered by culturing calvaria with retinol for 22 h. These latter findings, and the selectivity for collagen synthesis, all suggested that the effect observed was not a cell-toxicity phenomenon. The effect of retinol on collagen synthesis by chick calvarial osteoblasts was probably direct and not mediated by osteoclasts, since a negligible number of the latter cells is present in chick calvaria. In cultures of neonatal murine calvaria, which contain many osteoclasts, retinol similarly inhibited synthesis of collagen, but not of non-collagenous protein; the concentrations of retinol necessary to produce the response were similar to those required to stimulate bone resorption in vitro.

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