Maturation of Osteoblast-like Cells Sensitizes Them to Calcium and Ion Pair-Induced Apoptosis

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Christopher Adams, PhD, Thesis Advisor

Second Advisor

Ruth Borghaei, PhD

Third Advisor

Marina D'Angelo, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Marcus Bell, PhD


Previous work in the Adams' lab demonstrated the sensitivity of osteoblasts to the presence of microenviromental apoptogens. As osteoblasts change with maturation, it follows that the sensitivity of these cells to apoptogens must change as well. It is the goal of this study to examine the relationship between the maturation of osteoblasts and the susceptibility of these cells to apoptosis. For this study the Human Fetal Osteoblast (hFOB) cell line was used. These cells exhibit an early osteoblastic phenotype when cultured at 34°C while above 39°C, the cells mature. Cells were cultured for 2, 7, and 14 days. Phenotypic changes were confirmed. Cells cultured at both 34°C and 39.5°C were exposed to increasing levels of the calcium-phosphate ion pair. Percentages of viable cells were measured using the MTT assay. Apoptosis was confirmed by evaluating caspase-3 activation. Results indicated that maturing hFOB cells incubated at 39.5°C exhibited a greater sensitivity to the activation of apoptosis by the calcium- phosphate ion pair. These results suggest that, with maturation, osteoblasts become more sensitive to the activation of apoptosis. This work was supported by a grant from the Center for Chronic Disorders of Aging at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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