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Endocrinology. 1994 Sep;135(3):1032-43.

Expression and regulation of Ly-6 differentiation antigens by murine osteoblasts.

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Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8071.


Osteoblasts arise from mesenchymal stem cells and differentiate to become osteoid-secreting cells. However, little is known about these cells during their stages of differentiation. One reason for this lack of information is that there is no reliable method to identify osteoblasts as they mature. One method that has been used successfully with other cell types is the identification of plasma membrane-expressed differentiation antigens. The Ly-6 multigene family encodes differentiation antigens originally detected on lymphoid cells. Primary murine osteoblasts and the osteoblast-like MC3T3 cell line were examined for expression of Ly-6 antigens by flow cytometry. Primary osteoblasts and MC3T3 cells constitutively expressed both Ly-6A and Ly-6C antigens, although Ly-6C was much less abundant. Antigen expression was markedly increased by pretreating the cells with interferon-alpha/beta or -gamma. Northern blot analysis revealed constitutively expression of Ly-6 messenger RNA that was up-regulated by interferon treatment. Pretreatment of the cells with transforming growth factor-beta 1 or 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 diminished constitutive Ly-6 expression. Ly-6 was localized intracellularly to the Golgi complex. The current results demonstrate that mature osteoblasts express on their cell surface specific Ly-6 antigens in a pattern that distinguishes them from the surrounding bone marrow cells. These studies represent the first identification of osteoblast differentiation antigens that can be directly related to cells within the hematopoietic lineage. By identifying similar antigens, osteoblasts at various stages of differentiation may be identified, isolated, and characterized.

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