The aim of this study was to determine the effects of boron (B) on the cell-survival, proliferation, mineralization and mRNA expression of mineralized tissue-associated proteins. Additionally, determination of the effects of B on the BMP-4, -6 and -7 protein levels of pre-osteoblastic cells (MC3T3-E1) was also intended. The effects of B (pH 7.0) concentrations (0, 0.1, 1, 10, 100, 1000, 2000, 4000, 8000 and 10,000 ng/ml) on the survival of the cells were evaluated at 24 and 96 hrs with MTT assay. To evaluate the proliferation in long term, MC3T3-E1 cells were treated with different concentrations of B (0, 0.1, 1, 10, 100 and 1000 ng/ml) and were counted on days 2, 5, and 14. While in short term, decreased cell survival rate was observed at 1000 ng/ml and above, at long term no statistically significant difference was detected in different B concentrations applied. Slight decreases at the proliferation of the B-treated groups were determined on days 5 and 14 but one-way analysis of variance revealed that the difference was statistically insignificant. In mineralization assay, increased mineralized nodules were apparently observed in B treatment (1 and 10 ng/ml concentrations) groups. Based on quantitative RT-PCR results, remarkable regulation in favor of osteoblastic function for Collagen type I (COL I), Osteopontin (OPN), Bone Sialoprotein (BSP), Osteocalcin (OCN) and RunX2 mRNA expressions were observed in B treatment groups in comparison with untreated control groups. Increased BMP-4, -6 and -7 protein levels were detected at 0.1, 1, 10 and 100 ng/ml B concentrations. Results of the study suggest that at the molecular level B displays important roles on bone metabolism and may find novel usages at the regenerative medicine.
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