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J Cell Physiol. 1996 Oct;169(1):115-25.

Effects of osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1, BMP-7) on bone matrix protein expression by fetal rat calvarial cells are differentiation stage specific.

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MRC Group in Periodontal Physiology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are a group of cytokines that are characterized by their ability to stimulate osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. However, the influence of BMPs on osteoblastic cells at different stages of differentiation is not known. Since bone matrix proteins are differentially regulated during bone formation we have studied the effects of recombinant human osteogenic protein-1 (rhOP-1; BMP-7) on the expression of these proteins by fetal rat calvarial cells (FRCCs) at discrete stages of osteoblast differentiation. Continuous administration of rhOP-1 to FRCCs, beginning at confluence (day 7), produced a dose-dependent increase in the number, size and mineralization of bone-like nodules formed in the presence of vitamin C and beta-glycerophosphate. Within 9 h of administration, rhOP-1 stimulated a 3-fold increase in OPN mRNA which was reflected in a comparable increase in the low phosphorylated, 55 kDa form of osteopontin. In contrast, changes in type 1 collagen, alkaline phosphatase and bone sialoprotein mRNAs followed the differentiation of preosteoblastic cells, and were increased 2-, 4- and 5-fold, respectively, after 8 days (day 15). When administered at intermediate stages of osteoblast differentiation (days 12, 15 and 18) BSP remained refractory to rhOP-1 whereas the ALP was increased almost 2-fold, independent of the constitutive levels of mRNA expression. To determine the effects on osteoblasts, FRCCs were first grown to the bone nodule-forming stage (day 21) before rhOP-1 was administered. Only modest, transient increases in the expression of ALP and OPN mRNAs were evident whereas OC expression was increased more than 3-fold. In contrast, collagen type 1 and BSP mRNA levels were not changed significantly. These results suggest that rhOP-1 increases bone formation by promoting osteoblastic differentiation, as indicated by the increased number of bone forming colonies and by increasing the number of osteoblastic cells in the colonies, but not by increasing matrix production by individual osteoblasts. It is also evident that the regulation of bone matrix proteins by rhOP-1 is dependent upon the differentiated state of the cell.

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