Differential osteopontin expression in human osteoblasts derived from iliac crest and alveolar bone and its role in early stages of angiogenesis

  • Martin Wein
  • Diana Huelter-Hassler
  • Katja Nelson
  • Tobias Fretwurst
  • Susanne Nahles
  • Guenter Finkenzeller
  • Brigitte Altmann
  • Thorsten Steinberg
Original Article


In our previous study, we revealed significant differences of osteopontin (OPN) gene expression in primary human osteoblasts (HOBs) derived from iliac crest bone (iHOBs) and alveolar bone (aHOBs). The present study aims at assigning this discriminative expression to a possible biologic function. OPN is known to be involved in several pathologic and physiologic processes, among others angiogenesis. Therefore, we studied the reaction of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) to HOB-derived OPN regarding angiogenesis. To this end, human primary explant cultures of both bone entities from ten donors were established. Subsequent transcription analysis detected higher gene expression of OPN in iHOBs compared to aHOBs, thereby confirming the results of our previous study. This difference was particularly apparent when cultures were derived from female donors. Hence, OPN protein expression as well as the angiogenic potential of OPN was analyzed, originating from HOBs of one female donor. In accordance to the gene expression level, secreted OPN was more abundant in the supernatant of iHOBs than in aHOBs. Moreover, secreted OPN was found to stimulate migration of HUVECs, but not proliferation or tube formation. These results indicate an involvement in very early stages of angiogenesis and a functional distinction of OPN from HOBs derived from different bone entities.


Alveolar osteoblast Iliac crest osteoblast Osteopontin Angiogenesis Human umbilical vein endothelial cells 



We thank Thomas Boschet for the excellent preparation of and technical assistance with the examined HUVECs. Additionally, we thank Balder Rebmann for his expertise and support in conducting the conventional PCR analysis. Further thanks go to Pascal Tomakidi for his support with data interpretation and advice on bone physiology.

Author contributions

MW conducted the experiments, collected the data, and performed the data analysis and writing. He is further responsible for the integrity of the data. DHH contributed to the conduction of the WB experiments, analysis and writing. GF supplied the HUVEC cells for the study. KN, TF and SN provided the bone debris of the alveolar bone and iliac crest and contributed constructive scientific ideas. BA and TS generated the hypothesis, supervised the experimental part and contributed with intellectual input and writing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights statement

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society for Bone and Mineral Research and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Wein
    • 1
    • 2
  • Diana Huelter-Hassler
    • 2
    • 3
  • Katja Nelson
    • 4
  • Tobias Fretwurst
    • 4
  • Susanne Nahles
    • 5
  • Guenter Finkenzeller
    • 6
  • Brigitte Altmann
    • 4
  • Thorsten Steinberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oral Biotechnology, University Medical Center Freiburg, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of BiologyUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Orthodontics, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  4. 4.G.E.R.N. Tissue Replacement, Regeneration and Neogenesis, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  5. 5.Department of Oral- and Maxillofacial SurgeryCharité Campus VirchowBerlinGermany
  6. 6.Department of Plastic and Hand Surgery, Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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