Expression of mRNAs for type-I collagen, bone sialoprotein, osteocalcin, and osteopontin at different stages of osteoblastic differentiation and their regulation by 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3

Research paper by C. G. Bellows, S. M. Reimers, J. N. M. Heersche

Indexed on: 01 Jul '99Published on: 01 Jul '99Published in: Cell and Tissue Research


We have used in situ hybridization to evaluate the effects of 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25 (OH)2 D3) on the expression of mRNA for bone-matrix proteins and to determine whether mature osteoblasts respond differently to 1,25 (OH)2 D3 than younger, newly differentiated osteoblasts. Rat calvaria cells were cultured for 7, 12, 15, and 19 days to obtain a range of nodules from very young to very mature. At each time point, some cultures were treated with 10 nM 1,25 (OH)2 D3 for 24 h prior to fixation. In control cultures, type-I collagen mRNA was detectable in osteoblastic cells in very young nodules and increased with increasing maturity of the nodules and the osteoblasts lining them. The bone sialoprotein mRNA signal was weak in young osteoblasts, increased in older osteoblasts, and decreased in mature osteoblasts. Weak osteocalcin and osteopontin signals were seen only in osteoblasts of intermediate and mature nodules. 1,25 (OH)2 D3 treatment markedly upregulated osteocalcin and osteopontin mRNAs and downregulated mRNA levels of bone sialoprotein and, to a lesser extent, type-I collagen in both young and mature osteoblasts. However, a marked diversity of signal levels for bone sialoprotein, osteocalcin, and osteopontin existed between neighboring mature osteoblasts, particularly after 1,25 (OH)2 D3 treatment, which may therefore selectively affect mature osteoblasts, depending on their differentiation status or functional stage of activity.