Endocrinology and Metabolism

Involvement of calcium-sensing receptor in osteoblastic differentiation of mouse MC3T3-E1 cells

Mika Yamauchi, Toru Yamaguchi, Hiroshi Kaji, Toshitsugu Sugimoto, Kazuo Chihara


We have previously shown that the extracellular calcium-sensing receptor (CaR) is expressed in various bone marrow-derived cell lines and plays an important role in stimulating their proliferation and chemotaxis. It has also been reported that the CaR modulates matrix production and mineralization in chondrogenic cells. However, it remains unclear whether the CaR plays any role in regulating osteoblast differentiation. In this study, we found that mineralization of the mouse osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells was increased when the cells were exposed to high calcium (2.8 and 3.8 mM) or a specific CaR activator, NPS-R467 (1 and 3 μM). Next, we stably transfected MC3T3-E1 cells with either a CaR antisense vector (AS clone) or a vector containing the inactivating R185Q variant of the CaR (DN clone) that has previously been shown to exert a dominant negative action. Alkaline phosphatase activities were decreased compared with controls in both the AS and DN clones. However, the levels of type I procollagen and osteopontin mRNA in the AS clone, as detected by Northern blotting, were almost the same as in the controls. On the other hand, the expression of osteocalcin, which is expressed at a later stage of osteoblastic differentiation, was significantly reduced in both the AS and DN clones. Mineralization was also decreased in both clones. In conclusion, this study showed that the abolition of CaR function results in diminishing alkaline phosphatase activity, osteocalcin expression, and mineralization in mouse osteoblastic cells. This suggests that the CaR may be involved in osteoblastic differentiation.

  • osteoblast
  • mineralization
  • osteocalcin
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