The effects of pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF, 15 Hz pulse burst, 7 mT peak) stimulation on bone tissue-like formation on osteoblasts (MC3T3-E1 cell line) in different stages of maturation were assessed to determine whether the PEMF stimulatory effect on bone tissue-like formation was associated with the increase in the number of cells and/or with the enhancement of the cellular differentiation. The cellular proliferation (DNA content), differentiation (alkaline phosphatase activity), and bone tissue-like formation (area of mineralized matrix) were determined at different time points. PEMF treatment of osteoblasts in the active proliferation stage accelerated cellular proliferation, enhanced cellular differentiation, and increased bone tissue-like formation. PEMF treatment of osteoblasts in the differentiation stage enhanced cellular differentiation and increased bone tissue-like formation. PEMF treatment of osteoblasts in the mineralization stage decreased bone tissue-like formation. In conclusion, PEMF had a stimulatory effect on the osteoblasts in the early stages of culture, which increased bone tissue-like formation. This stimulatory effect was most likely associated with enhancement of the cellular differentiation, but not with the increase in the number of cells.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.