We examined the expression of parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTHrP) and its receptor in normal newborn human calvaria osteoblastic (NHCO) cells. Northern blot analysis showed that NHCO cells express a single 1·6 kb transcript of PTHrP, which was increased within 1 h (2x) and peaked at 6 h (7x) after serum treatment. In the culture media, the release of PTHrP peptide was maximally increased (4x) 24 h after the addition of serum, as determined by immunoradiometric assay. NHCO cells exhibited a cytoplasmic immunostaining for PTHrP in the presence of serum, and most PTHrP-positive cells were alkaline phosphatase-negative, suggesting that PTHrP was expressed in undifferentiated cells. Furthermore, RT-PCR analysis showed that both PTHrP and PTH/PTHrP receptor were expressed in NHCO cells in basal conditions or after stimulation with serum. The maximal PTHrP expression induced by serum suppressed PTH/PTHrP receptor expression, suggesting that PTHrP down-regulated its receptor in NHCO cells. Treatment with 10 nm human PTH(1–34—which binds to PTH/PTHrP receptors, increased intracellular cAMP levels and alkaline phosphatase activity, and decreased cell growth, indicating that ligand binding to PTH/PTHrP receptors regulates NHCO cell proliferation and differentiation. The expression and synthesis of PTHrP and the presence of functional PTH/PTHrP receptors suggest a possible paracrine mechanism of action of PTHrP in normal human calvaria osteoblastic cells.
European Journal of Endocrinology 136 640–648