Development and characterization of a conditionally immortalized human osteoblastic cell line stably transfected with the human androgen receptor gene

Lorenz C. Hofbauer, Kevin C. Hicok, Marcy J. Schroeder, Steven A. Harris, John A. Robinson, Sundeep Khosla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Androgens have significant beneficial effects on the skeleton. However, studies on the effects of androgens on osteoblasts are limited due to the absence of appropriate model systems that combine completness of the osteoblastic phenotype, rapid proliferation rate, and stable expression of the androgen receptor (AR). Thus, we stably transfected the conditionally immortalized human fetal osteoblastic cell line (hFOB) with the human wild- type AR (hAR) cDNA. Compared to nontransfected hFOB cells, constitutive hAR mRNA expression in three independent hAR-transfected hFOB clones (hFOB/AR) was 15-fold higher in hFOB/AR-16, 62-fold higher in hFOB/AR-2, and 72-fold higher in hFOB/AR-6 cells, respectively, as assessed by semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Detectable constitutive levels of hAR mRNA by Northern blot analysis were present in hFOB/AR-2 and hFOB/AR-6 cells, but not in hFOB/AR-16 or hFOB cells, respectively. Treatment with 5α-dihydrotestosterone (5α-DHT) (10-8 M) for 24 h did not alter hAR mRNA steady state levels in the hFOB/AR cell lines. Nuclear binding studies demonstrated 152 ± 73 (mean ± SEM) functional hARs/nucleus in non-transfected hFOB cells, 3,940 ± 395 functional hARs/nucleus in hFO/AR-2 cells, and 3,987 ±+ 823 hARs/nucleus in hFOB/AR-6 cells, respectively. Treatment with 5α-DHT increased the expression of a transiently transfected androgen response element-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (ARE-CAT) reporter construct in hFOB/AR-6 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner; no such effect was observed in transiently transfected hFOB cells lacking exogenously transfected hARs. Moreover, 5α- DHT-induced ARE-CAT expression was inhibited by the selective androgen receptor antagonist, hydroxyflutamide. In summary, we have developed and characterized androgen-responsive osteoblastic cell lines derived from normal human fetal bone that express physiological levels of functional hARs. These cell lines should provide a suitable model for further studies on the effects of androgens on osteoblast function, including the identification of potential androgen-regulated growth factors and cytokines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-551
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 15 1997


  • Androgen receptor
  • Androgens
  • Bone cells
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Hydroxyflutamide
  • Osteoblasts
  • Stable transfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Development and characterization of a conditionally immortalized human osteoblastic cell line stably transfected with the human androgen receptor gene'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this