Gap-junctional communication mediates parathyroid hormone stimulation of mineralization in osteoblastic cultures

P. C. Schiller, G. D'Ippolito, W. Balkan, B. A. Roos, G. A. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Previously we showed that physiological levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) can increase the mineralization of extracellular matrix (ECM) by osteoblast-like cells in vitro. In this study, we assess the role of gap-junctional intercellular communication (GJC) in the PTH-enhanced mineralization of ECM in MC3T3-E1 cells, a murine culture model of osteoblastic differentiation. Messenger RNA and protein for connexin 43 (Cx43), the major component of MC3T3-E1 gap junctions, and GJC increased as the cells progressed toward a mature phenotype. Immunocytochemistry showed accumulation of Cx43 at the area of close contact between cells. The timing of the PTH treatment that increased matrix mineralization in these cells coincided with the highest expression of Cx43 and GJC. Administration of 18-α-glycyrrhetinic acid (AGA) promptly blocked GJC in cultures of MC3T3-E1 cells in a dose-dependent and reversible manner at all times tested during the culture period. Treatment with AGA, but not with an inactive analog, reversed the PTH-induced ECM mineralization. These data suggest that GJC mediates anabolic actions of PTH related to osteoblast-mediated mineralization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Biomineralization
  • Cell coupling
  • Connexin-43 (Cx43)
  • Gap junctions
  • Osteoblasts
  • Parathyroid hormone (PTH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hematology


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