Effect of calcium glucoheptonate on proliferation and osteogenesis of osteoblast-like cells in vitro

PLoS One. 2019 Sep 9;14(9):e0222240. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222240. eCollection 2019.


Calcium is the key macromineral having a role in skeletal structure and function, muscle contraction, and neurotransmission. Bone remodeling is maintained through a constant balance between calcium resorption and deposition. Calcium deficiency is resolved through calcium supplementation, and among the supplements, water-soluble organic molecules attracted great pharmaceutical interest. Calcium glucoheptonate is a highly water-soluble organic calcium salt having clinical use; however, detailed investigations on its biological effects are limited. We assessed the effects of calcium glucoheptonate on cell viability and proliferation of osteoblast-like MG-63 cells. Calcium uptake and mineralization were evaluated using Alizarin red staining of osteoblast-like MG-63 cells treated with calcium glucoheptonate. Expression of osteogenic markers were monitored by western blotting, immunofluorescence, and qRT-PCR assays. Increased proliferation and calcium uptake were observed in the MG-63 cells treated with calcium glucoheptonate. The treatment also increased the expression of osteopontin and osteogenic genes such as collagen-1, secreted protein acidic and cysteine rich (SPARC), and osteocalcin. Calcium glucoheptonate treatment did not exert any cytotoxicity on colorectal and renal epithelial cells, indicating the safety of the treatment. This is the first report with evidence for its beneficial effect for pharmaceutical use in addressing calcium deficiency conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Osteoblasts / cytology
  • Osteoblasts / drug effects*
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteocalcin / metabolism
  • Osteogenesis / drug effects*
  • Osteonectin / metabolism
  • Osteopontin / metabolism
  • Sugar Acids / pharmacology*


  • Collagen Type I
  • Osteonectin
  • Sugar Acids
  • Osteocalcin
  • Osteopontin
  • alpha-glucoheptonic acid
  • Calcium

Grant support

The Global Calcium Pvt. Ltd. provided support for this study in the form of salary for SV. The specific roles of the authors are articulated in the 'author contributions' section. The Global Calcium Pvt. Ltd did not have any role in data acquisition, analysis, publications and any patents arising from this study.