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Nutr Res Pract. 2010 Oct;4(5):356-61. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2010.4.5.356. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Zinc may increase bone formation through stimulating cell proliferation, alkaline phosphatase activity and collagen synthesis in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells.

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Institute of Marine Biotechnology, Andong National University, 388 Songchun-dong, Andong, Kyungpook 760-749, Korea.


Zinc is an essential trace element required for bone formation, however not much has been clarified yet for its role in osteoblast. We hypothesized that zinc would increase osteogenetic function in osteoblasts. To test this, we investigated whether zinc treatment enhances bone formation by stimulating osteoblast proliferation, bone marker protein alkaline phosphatase activity and collagen synthesis in osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells. MC3T3-E1 cells were cultured and treated with various concentrations of zinc (0, 1, 3, 15, 25 uM) along with a normal osteogenic medium (OSM) as control for 1, 5, 10 days. As measured by MTT assay for mitochondrial metabolic activity, cell proliferation was stimulated even at low zinc treatment (1-3 µM) compared to OSM, and it was stimulated in a zinc concentration-dependent manner during 5 and 10 days, with the most pronounced effect at 15 and 25 uM Zn. Cellular (synthesized) alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity was increased in a zinc concentration-dependent manner, so did medium (secreted) ALP activity. Cellular collagen concentration was increased by zinc as time went by, therefore with the maximum zinc stimulatory effect in 10 days, and medium collagen concentration showed the same pattern even on 1 and 5 day. This zinc stimulatory effect of collagen synthesis was observed in cell matrix collagen staining. The study results imply that zinc can increase osteogenic effect by stimulating cell proliferation, ALP activity and collagen synthesis in osteoblastic cells.


ALP activity; MC3T3-E1 cells; Zinc; collagen synthesis; proliferation

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