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J Biol Chem. 1992 Oct 5;267(28):20352-62.

Recombinant human osteogenic protein-1 (hOP-1) induces new bone formation in vivo with a specific activity comparable with natural bovine osteogenic protein and stimulates osteoblast proliferation and differentiation in vitro.

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  • 1Creative BioMolecules Inc., Hopkinton, Massachusetts 01748.


We reported previously that a 32-36-kDa osteogenic protein purified from bovine bone matrix is composed of dimers of two members of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta superfamily: the bovine equivalent of human osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) and bone morphogenetic protein-2a, BMP-2a (BMP-2). In the present study, we produced the recombinant human OP-1 (hOP-1) in mammalian cells as a processed mature disulfide-linked homodimer with an apparent molecular weight of 36,000. Examination of hOP-1 in the rat subcutaneous bone induction model demonstrated that hOP-1 was capable of inducing new bone formation with a specific activity comparable with that exhibited by highly purified bovine osteogenic protein preparations. The half-maximal bone-inducing activity of hOP-1 in combination with a rat collagen matrix preparation was 50-100 ng/25 mg of matrix as determined by the calcium content of day 12 implants. Evaluation of hOP-1 effects on cell growth and collagen synthesis in rat osteoblast-enriched bone cell cultures showed that both cell proliferation and collagen synthesis were stimulated in a dose-dependent manner and increased 3-fold in response to 40 ng of hOP-1/ml. Examination of the expression of markers characteristic of the osteoblast phenotype showed that hOP-1 specifically stimulated the induction of alkaline phosphatase (4-fold increase at 40 ng of hOP-1/ml), parathyroid hormone-mediated intracellular cAMP production (4-fold increase at 40 ng of hOP-1/ml), and osteocalcin synthesis (5-fold increase at 25 ng of hOP-1/ml). In long-term (11-17 day) cultures of osteoblasts in the presence of beta-glycerophosphate and L(+)-ascorbate, hOP-1 markedly increased the rate of mineralization as measured by the number of mineral nodules per well (20-fold increase at 20 ng of hOP-1/ml). Direct comparison of TGF-beta 1 and hOP-1 in these bone cell cultures indicated that, although both hOP-1 and TGF-beta 1 promoted cell proliferation and collagen synthesis, only hOP-1 was effective in specifically stimulating markers of the osteoblast phenotype.

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