Osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) is a member of the bone morphogenetic protein family and has been shown to induce new bone formation in vivo. In the present study, we determined whether the expression of the IGF system, a significant growth factor system in bone, was altered by OP-1 in primary cultures of fetal rat calvarial cells. Levels of messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), IGF-II, IGF-I receptor, and IGF-binding proteins (IGFBP-1 to -6) were determined after OP-1 treatment. The level of total IGF-I mRNA was elevated in an OP-1 concentration (0-1000 ng/ml)-dependent manner, with maximal stimulation of IGF-I mRNA of 2- to 3- fold apparent 24 h after treatment. The increase in the IGF-I mRNA level involved a preferential stimulation of transcripts initiated at start site 2 in the exon 1 promoter. The level of IGF-II mRNA also increased by approximately 2-fold in OP-1-treated cells in a concentration-dependent manner. The level of IGF-I receptor mRNA was not altered by treatment. Whereas IGFBP-1 mRNA was not detected in these cells, IGFBP-2 mRNA was expressed, but the expression was not changed after treatment for 48 h in the concentration range (0-1000 ng/ml) tested. The IGFBP-3 mRNA level was increased slightly 48 h after OP-1 treatment in a concentration-dependent manner. The IGFBP-4, -5, and -6 mRNA levels decreased dramatically in an OP- 1 concentration-dependent manner. In addition, coincubation of antisense oligonucleotides corresponding to IGF-I or -II mRNA sequence with OP-1 reduced the OP-1-induced elevation in alkaline phosphatase activity. The present results suggest that the differentiation of rat osteoblastic cells in response to OP-1 is mediated in part by increased IGF-I and -II gene expression and alterations in the gene expression of different IGFBPs.
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