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The activity of human osteoblast-like cells cultured in vitro is regulated by a number of factors, which include systemic hormones as well as agents that can be produced locally within bone. Several cytokines and growth factors have been demonstrated to be produced by osteoblasts themselves, and this includes granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). In this report we show that recombinant human GM-CSF (rhGM-CSF) modulates the activities of osteoblast-like cells derived from human trabecular bone in vitro. rhGM-CSF stimulated the proliferation of the cultured human osteoblast-like cells, but antagonised the induction by 1,25(OH)2D3 of osteocalcin synthesis and alkaline phosphatase activity, two characteristic products of osteoblasts. rhGM-CSF however, had no appreciable effect on the production of prostaglandin E2, or on the plasminogen activator activity associated with human osteoblast-like cells. These results are the first report of which we are aware of an apparently direct action of GM-CSF on cells of the osteoblast phenotype. These studies indicate that GM-CSF represents another haematological factor that can potentially exert regulatory actions on human osteoblast-like cells. GM-CSF may therefore be a potential paracrine/autocrine regulator of osteoblast activity.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem biophys res commun

Publication Date





588 - 595


Alkaline Phosphatase, Calcium-Binding Proteins, Cell Division, Cells, Cultured, Colony-Stimulating Factors, Dinoprostone, Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Growth Substances, Humans, Osteoblasts, Osteocalcin, Plasminogen Activators, Recombinant Proteins