Characterization of a bone-specific alkaline phosphatase in chick limb mesenchymal cell cultures

Philip Osdoby, Arnold I. Caplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Previous morphometric and biochemical studies suggested that osteoblasts develop in cultures derived from phenotypically unexpressive stage 24 chick limb mesenchymal cells. Others have shown that osteoblast expression is marked by an increase in bone-specific alkaline phosphatase activity. Our results indicate that chick limb mesenchymal cells develop alkaline phosphatase activity that is identical to that of the chick embryonic bone-specific isoenzyme. The alkaline phosphatase isozymes were partially purified from samples of chick intestine, liver, stage 38 embryonic limbs, and cultures of stage 24 limb mesenchymal cells. These tissues were separately extracted with butanol, acetone precipitated, redissolved, and passed over a DEAE-Sephacel ion-exchange column and ion-filtration column (Sephadex A-25). From the data obtained during this purification scheme, we conclude that the alkaline phosphatase from stage 38 limbs (bones) and Day 4 cultures are identical, and this activity is different from the enzyme purified from intestine and liver. The cell culture isozyme has an apparent Km, heat lability, response to specific inhibitors, electrophoretic mobility, and molecular weight similar to those of bone-specific alkaline phosphatase. These observations support the view that osteoblastic progenitor cells are present in the stage 24 limb mesenchyme and that under specific culture conditions, bone development can be uniquely observed in vitro.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-146
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1981


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