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Cell Biology International (2004) 28, 905–911 (Printed in Great Britain)
Metallothionein protects bone marrow stromal cells against hydrogen peroxide-induced inhibition of osteoblastic differentiation
An‑Ling Liua*, Zhong‑Ming Zhangb, Bi‑Feng Zhua, Zhao‑Hui Liaoa and Zhu Liua
aYingdong College of Biotechnology, Shaoguan University, Shaoguan, Guangdong Province 512005, PR China
bDepartment of Orthopaedics and Spinal Surgery, NanFang Hospital, The First Military Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, PR China


Metallothionein (MT), a cysteine-rich, metal-binding protein, is involved in homeostatic regulation of essential metals and protection of cells against oxidative injury. It has been shown that oxidative stress is associated with pathogenesis of osteoporosis and is capable of inhibiting osteoblastic differentiation of bone cells by nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). In this study, the effect of MT on oxidative stress-induced inhibition of osteoblast differentiation was examined. 50–200μM hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress suppressed the osteoblastic differentiation process of primary mouse bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), manifested by a reduction in the differentiation marker alkaline phosphatase (ALP). The presence of exogenous MT (20–500μM) or induction of endogenous MT by ZnCl2 (50–200μM) could protect BMSCs against H2O2-induced inhibition of osteoblastic differentiation, manifested by a resumption of H2O2-inhibited ALP activity and ALP positive cells. Furthermore, adding exogenous MT or inducing endogenous MT expression impaired H2O2-stimulated NF-κB signaling. These data indicate the ability of MT to protect BMSCs against oxidative stress-induced inhibition of osteoblastic differentiation.

Key words: Metallothionein, Oxidative stress, Osteoblast, Differentiation, Hydrogen peroxide, Osteoporosis.

*Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 20 61360535; fax: +86 751 8120069.

Received 6 April 2004/2 September 2004; accepted 13 September 2004


ISSN Print: 1065-6995
ISSN Electronic: 1095-8355
Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the International Federation for Cell Biology (IFCB)