Parathyroid hormone mediates bone growth through the regulation of osteoblast proliferation and differentiation

Bone. 2008 Apr;42(4):806-18. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2007.11.017. Epub 2007 Dec 15.


PTH (1-34) is the only FDA-approved anabolic agent for osteoporosis treatment in the U.S., but its mechanisms are not completely understood. This study investigated PTH effects on osteogenic cells at various stages of differentiation and proliferation using an engineered bone growth model in vivo. Ossicles were generated from bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) implanted in immunocompromised mice. Three weeks of PTH (40 microg/kg/day) or vehicle treatment initiated 1 day, 1, 2, or 3 weeks after BMSC implantation resulted in an anabolic response in PTH-treated implants (via histomorphometry and muCT) in all treatment groups. A novel in vivo tracking strategy with luciferase tagged BMSCs and weekly bioluminescent imaging of ossicles revealed increased donor cell proliferation in PTH-treated ossicles. The greatest increase occurred during the first week, and the activity remained elevated in PTH-treated implants over time. Zoledronic acid (ZA) was combined with PTH to delineate interactive mechanisms of these bone active agents. Combining ZA with PTH treatment reduced the PTH-mediated increase in luciferase BMSC activity, serum osteocalcin, and serum tartrate resistant acid phosphotase-5b (TRAP-5b) but ZA did not reduce the PTH-induced increase in total bone. Since zoledronic acid reduced PTH-induced proliferation without reducing bone volume, these data suggest that combining PTH and bisphosphonate therapy warrants further investigation in the treatment of bone disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Development / drug effects*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Diphosphonates / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Osteoblasts / cytology*
  • Osteoblasts / drug effects*
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Parathyroid Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Stromal Cells / transplantation
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Diphosphonates
  • Parathyroid Hormone