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Bone Miner. 1992 Apr;17(1):15-29.

Inorganic phosphate added exogenously or released from beta-glycerophosphate initiates mineralization of osteoid nodules in vitro.

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M.R.C. Group in Periodontal Physiology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Rat calvaria (RC) cells grown in medium containing ascorbic acid form nodules of osteoid and cells. When 10 mM beta-Glycerophosphate (beta-GP) is added, the osteoid mineralizes in two phases: an initiation phase that is dependent upon alkaline phosphatase activity and a progression phase that proceeds independently of the activity of alkaline phosphatase and does not require added beta-GP (Bellows et al., Bone Miner 1991;14:27-40). The present experiments were performed to determine whether beta-GP is converted to inorganic phosphate (Pi) during the initiation phase of the mineralization process and whether increased Pi can replace beta-GP in the initiation phase. Measurements of Pi concentrations in the culture medium showed that during the first 8 h of the initiation phase of mineralization, 10 mM beta-GP was rapidly degraded resulting in Pi concentrations of 9-10 mM. The production rate of Pi from beta-GP was linear (r = 0.996) and the alkaline phosphatase activity in the same cultures indicated a potential for conversion of beta-GP to Pi that was greater than the actual conversion rate. The addition of 2-5 mM Pi in the absence of beta-GP also initiated mineralization. Mineralization initiated by either beta-GP or Pi progressed in the absence of added beta-GP or Pi. 100 microM Levamisole inhibited the initiation of beta-GP-induced mineralization and the conversion of beta-GP to Pi, but did not affect Pi-induced initiation of mineralization. The addition of 1-5 mM Pi to cultures in which mineralization had been initiated by 10 mM beta-GP had no significant effect on the progression phase of mineralization. Neither beta-BP nor Pi initiated 45Ca uptake in cultures without nodules (RC population I) and the histological appearance of the mineralized tissue in either phosphate source appeared identical. The present experiments show that beta-GP is rapidly and virtually completely degraded to Pi during the initiation phase of mineralization and that the addition of increased concentrations of Pi can replace beta-GP in the initiation phase of mineralization in the absence of non-specific 45Ca uptake or apparent cellular toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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