Osteoblastlike cells in a serum-free methylcellulose medium form colonies: Effects of insulin and insulinlike growth factor I Academic Article uri icon


  • Osteoblastlike (OB) cells obtained from a heterogeneous primary cell population by enzymatic cell digestion of calvaria of newborn rats are grown in a serum-free viscous alpha-MEM/F-12 medium containing 0.8% methylcellulose. In contrast to cell monolayers in conventional tissue cultures OB cells proliferate into colonies of rounded-up cells to form morulalike spherical cell clusters containing up to 100 cells. These colonies, with different cell numbers, are clearly not fibroblastlike since fibroblasts from the same rats always grow as a cell monolayer. Alkaline phosphatase activity and cAMP responsivness to PTH are expressed more markedly (70% and 250% respectively) by OB cells in the described culture system than in conventional tissue cultures. Rounded-up OB cells sediment and colonies stick to the dish; proliferation of OB cells is favored and starts 3-4 days after inoculation. Increasing concentrations of insulinlike growth factor (IGF) I (0.4-35 nM) and insulin (20-660 nM), as well as increasing initial cell density, enhances mitogenic activity of these cells in a dose-dependent way. On a molar ratio IGF I (physiological concentrations) is 10 times as potent as insulin (pharmacological concentrations) with respect to proliferation. If less than 10(5) cells/ml are inoculated, there exists an apparent relationship between initial cell density and major onset of replication, indicating the presence and accumulation of local growth factors.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

publication date

  • January 1987