The most biologically active metabolite 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) has well known direct effects on osteoblast growth and differentiation in vitro. The precursor 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) can affect osteoblast function via conversion to 1,25(OH)2D3, however, it is largely unknown whether 25(OH)D3 can affect primary osteoblast function on its own. Furthermore, 25(OH)D3 is not only converted to 1,25(OH)2D3, but also to 24R,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (24R,25(OH)2D3) which may have bioactivity as well. Therefore we used a primary human osteoblast model to examine whether 25(OH)D3 itself can affect osteoblast function using CYP27B1 silencing and to investigate whether 24R,25(OH)2D3 can affect osteoblast function. We showed that primary human osteoblasts responded to both 25(OH)D3 and 1,25(OH)2D3 by reducing their proliferation and enhancing their differentiation by the increase of alkaline phosphatase, osteocalcin and osteopontin expression. Osteoblasts expressed CYP27B1 and CYP24 and synthesized 1,25(OH)2D3 and 24R,25(OH)2D3 dose-dependently. Silencing of CYP27B1 resulted in a decline of 1,25(OH)2D3 synthesis, but we observed no significant differences in mRNA levels of differentiation markers in CYP27B1-silenced cells compared to control cells after treatment with 25(OH)D3. We demonstrated that 24R,25(OH)2D3 increased mRNA levels of alkaline phosphatase, osteocalcin and osteopontin. In addition, 24R,25(OH)2D3 strongly increased CYP24 mRNA. In conclusion, the vitamin D metabolites 25(OH)D3, 1,25(OH)2D3 and 24R,25(OH)2D3 can affect osteoblast differentiation directly or indirectly. We showed that primary human osteoblasts not only respond to 1,25(OH)2D3, but also to 24R,25(OH)2D3 by enhancing osteoblast differentiation. This suggests that 25(OH)D3 can affect osteoblast differentiation via conversion to the active metabolite 1,25(OH)2D3, but also via conversion to 24R,25(OH)2D3. Whether 25(OH)D3 has direct actions on osteoblast function needs further investigation.,
Department of Internal Medicine

Van Der Meijden, K., Lips, P., van Driel, M., Heijboer, R., Schulten, E. A. J. M., den Heijer, M., & Bravenboer, N. (2014). Primary human osteoblasts in response to 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3and 24R,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. PLoS ONE, 9(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110283