Investigation of primary cell-biomaterial interactions using silver nitrate staining of nucleolar organising regions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


The quantification of silver nitrate staining of nucleolar organising regions (AgNORs) within the nucleus of the cell has been shown to give a relative measure of the metabolic activity of the cell. In the present study, silver nitrate staining was utilised to identify metabolic variations in cells cultured on different surfaces and compared with proliferative activity assessed using bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) uptake. Primary osteoblast and periosteal cells, isolated from the calvaria of neonate rats, were cultured on tissue culture-grade (TCPS) and bacteriological-grade (BACPS) polystyrene petri dishes for 3, 5, 7 and 9 days (silver nitrate) or 14 days (BrdU). The phenotype of the cells was examined using RT-PCR of the mRNA for osteocalcin, collagen la, alkaline phosphatase and osteopontin. The number and area of AgNORs and the proportion of BrdU positive cells were statistically different in cells cultured on TCPS compared with BACPS at each culture period tested. The results suggest that the metabolic activity and proliferation of cells were affected by the substrate which they colonise. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • nucleolar organiser, surface, osteoblast, BrdU, biomaterial