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Strain-related collagen gene expression in human osteoblast-like cells


The gene expression of cells in the musculoskeletal system, such as in bone, cartilage, ligament and tendon, is profoundly affected by mechanical loading. Previous studies have demonstrated that the expression of many genes, including collagen types I and III, are affected by mechanical strain in diverse cell types, such as human osteoblast-like SaOs-2 cells. However, whether the effect of mechanical loading on collagen gene expression is strain-related remains unclear. The goal of this study was to determine the relationship between mechanical strain and the gene expression of collagen types I and III in SaOs-2 cells. A Flexercell cellular mechanical loading system was used to subject SaOs-2 cells to equibiaxial cyclic tensile stress at a rate of 0.5 Hz with various strains of 5%, 7.5%, 10%, and 12.5% for 24 h. The relative amount of mRNA of both collagen I and collagen III increased at 5% strain compared with that of the control. As the strain increased, the relative amount of mRNA of collagen I remained stable at strain levels up to 12.5%. However, the mRNA for collagen III began to drop when the strain was greater than 5%, until a 10% strain was reached. From the application of a 10% strain through the maximum loading of a 12.5% strain, the relative amount of collagen III mRNA remained stable at amounts lower than that of the control. Thus, the gene expression of collagen types I and III responds differentially to mechanical strain at various magnitudes.

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We thank Carolyn Adams for her assistance in the preparation of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Zong-Ping Luo.

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Liu, X., Zhang, X. & Luo, Z. Strain-related collagen gene expression in human osteoblast-like cells. Cell Tissue Res 322, 331–334 (2005).

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  • SaOs-2
  • Mechanical loading
  • Strain
  • Gene expression
  • Collagen
  • Human