Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) and alpha-klotho stimulate osteoblastic MC3T3.E1 cell proliferation and inhibit mineralization

Calcif Tissue Int. 2011 Aug;89(2):140-50. doi: 10.1007/s00223-011-9501-5. Epub 2011 Jun 3.


Elevated serum levels of the phosphate-regulating hormone fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) are found in patients with phosphate wasting diseases and chronic kidney disease-mineral and bone disorder (CKD-MBD). These diseases are associated with rickets and renal osteodystrophy, respectively. FGF23 is secreted from osteoblastic cells and signals through FGFRs, membrane coreceptor alpha-Klotho (Klotho), and, possibly, a circulating form of Klotho. Despite the absence of detectable Klotho on osteoblastic cells, studies have suggested that forced FGF23 expression in osteoblasts inhibited mineralization. Thus, we examined the effects of exogenously applied FGF23 on osteoblastic MC3T3.E1 cell proliferation and differentiation, with and without soluble Klotho. MC3T3.E1 cells were cultured in osteoblast differentiation medium, supplemented with FGF23 (0.1-1,000 ng/mL), Klotho (50 ng/mL), the combination FGF23 + Klotho, and FGF2 (100 ng/mL) as a control. Neither FGF23 nor Klotho exposure affected proliferation of day 4 growth phase cells or mineralization of day 14 cultures. In contrast, FGF23 + Klotho resulted in inhibition of mineralization and osteoblast activity markers at day 14, and a slight, reproducible induction of proliferation. Inhibition of FGFR1, but not FGFR2 or FGFR3, completely restored FGF23 + Klotho-induced inhibition of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity at day 7. ALP activity was partially restored by the MAPK inhibitor U0126 but not inhibitors p38 and P13K. Thus, soluble Klotho enables FGF23 signaling in MC3T3.E1 cells, likely through FGFR 1(IIIc). Elevated FGF23 actions, in part, appear to parallel FGF2 with lower potency. In addition to affecting bone via indirect phosphate wasting pathways, supraphysiological FGF23 and soluble Klotho may directly impact bone in diseases with elevated FGF23 levels.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Calcification, Physiologic / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / pharmacology*
  • Glucuronidase / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Klotho Proteins
  • Mice
  • Osteoblasts / drug effects*
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteoblasts / physiology
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Validation Studies as Topic


  • FGF23 protein, human
  • Fgf23 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • Glucuronidase
  • Klotho Proteins