Stimulatory effects of estrogen and progesterone on proliferation and differentiation of normal human osteoblast-like cells in vitro

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Here we report that osteoblast-like cells derived from female and male adult human trabecular bone are able to directly respond to 17 beta-estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P). In short-term (1 day) cultures using serum-free and phenol red-free medium, both steroid hormones were found to stimulate DNA synthesis and growth of the human osteoblast-like cells. P was more potent in stimulating osteoblast growth compared to E2. On the other hand, E2 showed a stronger differentiation-inducing effect as determined by analysis of the number of cells displaying cytochemical alkaline phosphatase (AP) activity, a marker for the mature osteoblast phenotype. Combination of E2 and P resulted in a further increase in DNA synthesis, but did not further affect the number of cells expressing AP activity. In conclusion, female sex steroids may be involved in regulating bone mass in human adults via a direct anabolic action on the bone forming cells.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-60
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 1992


  • Bromodeoxyuridine, Progesterone, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Humans, Alkaline Phosphatase, Cell Differentiation, Estradiol, Culture Media, Serum-Free, Osteoblasts, Cells, Cultured, Kinetics, DNA Replication, Female, Male, Cell Division