Isolation and hormonal responsiveness of primary cultures of human bone-derived cells: Gender and age differences

S. Katzburg, M. Lieberherr, A. Ornoy, B. Y. Klein, D. Hendel, D. Somjen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a model for isolating human cell culture derived from biopsies obtained during orthopedic surgery. Four donor groups were defined by gender and age: pre- and postmenopausal women (<50 and >55 years, respectively), and younger (30-55 years) and older (>60 years) men. Bone-derived cells were identified as osteoblasts by major osteoblastic characteristics; that is, high alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, dose-dependent increase of ALP by 1,25-(OH)2D3, high levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH)-induced cyclic AMP, and 1,25-(OH)2D3-induced osteocalcin. In all cells, levels of osteocalcin were significantly elevated (p < 0.05 and 0.01). In cells derived from men, no significant age differences were found in ALP and osteocalcin values of basal activity and in fold stimulation 1,25(OH)2D3. Cells from postmenopausal women showed a nonsignificant lower basal ALP activity than premenopausal cells. In postmenopausal cells, ALP responded less to 1,25(OH)2D3 (33% increase, p < 0.05) than the premenopausal cells (100% increase, p < 0.05). In cells from either age group, ALP did not respond to the gonadal steroids 17β-estradiol (E2) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or progesterone. Basal levels of osteocalcin were higher in cells of premenopausal origin as compared with postmenopausal cells (p = 0.05), but response to 1,25(OH)2D3 was the same. PTH significantly stimulated cAMP (p = 0.001) in all age and gender groups analyzed. In all groups, no differences were found in either basal activity or in PTH response. Unlike men, cells derived from the bone of women were more susceptible to age changes. We postulate that the postmenopausal cell population had a decreased number of osteoblasts, or cells in a lower differentiation stage. These results extend our knowledge of bone biology found in animal models and reveal that human osteoblasts from men do not show the same age-dependent differences observed in women. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-673
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender and age specificity
  • Hormonal responsiveness
  • Human trabecular bone
  • Primary osteoblast cultures


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