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J Bone Miner Res. 1992 Feb;7(2):235-46.

Relationship between collagen synthesis and expression of the osteoblast phenotype in MC3T3-E1 cells.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston.


The MC3T3-E1 mouse calvaria-derived cell line has been used to study the role of collagen synthesis in osteoblast differentiation. MC3T3-E1 cells, like several previously characterized osteoblast culture systems, expressed osteoblast markers and formed a mineralized extracellular matrix only after exposure to ascorbic acid. Mineralization was stimulated further by beta-glycerol phosphate. Ultrastructural observations indicated that the extracellular matrix produced by ascorbic acid-treated cells was highly organized and contained well-banded collagen fibrils. Expression of osteoblast markers followed a clear temporal sequence. The earliest effects of ascorbic acid were to stimulate type I procollagen mRNA and collagen synthesis (24 h after ascorbate addition), followed by induction of alkaline phosphatase (48-72 h) and osteocalcin (96-144 h) mRNAs. Procollagen mRNA, which was expressed constitutively in the absence of ascorbate, increased only twofold after vitamin C addition. In contrast, alkaline phosphatase and osteocalcin mRNAs were undetectable in untreated cultures. Actions of ascorbic acid on osteoblast marker gene expression are mediated by increases in collagen synthesis and/or accumulation because (1) parallel dose-response relationships were obtained for ascorbic acid stimulation of collagen accumulation and alkaline phosphatase activity, and (2) the specific collagen synthesis inhibitors, 3,4-dehydroproline and cis-4-hydroxyproline, reversibly blocked ascorbic acid-dependent collagen synthesis and osteoblast marker gene expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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