1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25-(OH)2D3] was examined for a possible stimulative effect on osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells. During the early period of culture, 1,25-(OH)2D3 had a stimulative effect. During the growth phase, however, the steroid had little effect on either the protein or DNA content of the cultures. 1,25-(OH)2D3 increased bone-liverkidney-type alkaline phosphatase activity in a dose-related manner up to a concentration of 5 pg/ml; the increase was 2.2-fold over the control value. Studies on the effect of actinomycin D or cycloheximide treatment indicated that the vitamin may enhance de novo synthesis of ALP. The steroid also stimulated type I collagen production dose dependently via an increase in collagen synthesis rather than by inhibition of collagen degradation. MC3T3-E1 cells have a specific receptor for 1,25-(OH)2D3 which has a dissociation constant of 4.17 × 10−11 M and a sedimentation coefficient of 3.67S. The receptor concentration varied with the period of culture, being higher during the growth phase and lower at confluence, but its affinity did not change. The results indicate that 1,25-(OH)2D3 has a direct specific anabolic effect on osteoblastic cells in vitro during the growth phase and that this effect is related to receptor concentration.
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