Expression of fibrillins and other microfibril-associated proteins in human bone and osteoblast-like cells

S. Kitahama, M. A. Gibson, G. Hatzinikolas, S. Hay, J. L. Kuliwaba, A. Evdokiou, G. J. Atkins, D. M. Findlay

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57 Citations (Scopus)


Fibrillin-containing microfibrils are structural components of extracellular matrices of a diverse range of tissues, including bone. Their importance in bone biology is illustrated by the skeletal abnormalities manifest in the congenital disorder, Marfan syndrome, which results from mutations in the fibrillin-1 gene. We investigated the expression of fibrillins and other microfibril-associated proteins in human bone and bone-derived osteoblasts. Analysis of RNA extracted from cancellous bone showed expression of mRNAs encoding fibrillin-1 and -2, MAGP-1 and -2, LTBP-2, and MP78/70 (Big-h3). In demineralized normal mature bone, fibrillin-1 was immunolocalized to fibrils within the bone matrix and pericellularly to cells lining the endosteal surfaces of trabecular bone, some osteocytes, and cells associated with blood vessels. LTBP-2 was also identified at the endosteal surface and within the bone matrix in a lamellar fashion. In addition, primary osteoblast-like cells cultured from human trabecular bone (obtained from patients at joint replacement surgery) were found to express abundant mRNA for fibrillins and associated glycoproteins. Moreover, using western blot analysis, fibrillin-1 protein was shown to be secreted into the medium and to be deposited into the cell layer. Immunofluorescence staining of the cell layer visualized fibrillin-1 in the matrix as a three-dimensional network of fine filaments. Expression of fibrillin-1 by osteoblast-like cells was constitutive, and a number of skeletally active agents had little effect on mRNA or protein levels. These results show that human osteoblasts from mature bone express fibrillins and other microfibril-associated proteins, and suggest a role for these molecules in adult human bone. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-67
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Fibrillin
  • Human bone
  • Microfibril-associated proteins
  • Osteoblast-like cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology

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