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Endocrinology. 1989 Mar;124(3):1576-8.

Androgens directly stimulate proliferation of bone cells in vitro.

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Department of Medicine, Loma Linda University, CA 92357.


This report describes the first observation of a direct mitogenic effect of androgens on isolated osteoblastic cells in serum-free culture. [3H]thymidine incorporation into DNA and cell counts were used as measures of cell proliferation. The percentage of cells that stained for alkaline phosphatase was used as a measure of differentiation. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) enhanced mouse osteoblastic cell proliferation in a dose dependent manner over a wide range of doses (10(-8) to 10(-11) molar), and was maximally active at 10(-9) M. DHT also stimulated proliferation in human osteoblast cell cultures and in cultures of the human osteosarcoma cell line, TE89. Testosterone, fluoxymesterone (a synthetic androgenic steroid) and methenolone (an anabolic steroid) were also mitogenic in the mouse bone cell system. The mitogenic effect of DHT on bone cells was inhibited by antiandrogens (hydroxyflutamide and cyproterone acetate) which compete for binding to the androgen receptor. In addition to effects on cell proliferation, DHT increased the percentage of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) positive cells in all three bone cell systems tested, and this effect was inhibited by antiandrogens. We conclude that androgens can stimulate human and murine osteoblastic cell proliferation in vitro, and induce expression of the osteoblast-line differentiation marker ALP, presumably by an androgen receptor mediated mechanism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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