Isolation and culture of human osteoblasts

Alison Gartland*, Robin M. H. Rumney, Jane P. Dillon, James A. Gallagher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The skeleton is a dynamic organ that is constantly active throughout life. The highly coordinated actions of bone cells early in life determine the body's shape and form, whilst the constant remodelling (bone resorption followed by an equal amount of bone formation) during adulthood helps to maintain skeletal mass and repair microdamage. When the balance of bone resorption and bone formation becomes unequal, bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, occur. In order to develop drugs to combat bone disease, it is important to know the regulatory systems involved in normal bone formation and resorption. In this chapter, we concentrate on bone formation, providing a detailed guide to isolating and culturing primary human osteoblasts in bone explant cultures, as well as the methodology used to characterise and monitor the function of osteoblasts. In combination, these methods provide a powerful tool in bone cell biology and in the development of new novel treatments for bone disease.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Cell Culture Protocols
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-1617793660
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • osteoblasts
  • bone derived
  • alkaline phosphatase
  • primary cell structure
  • explant
  • mineralisation
  • SaOS-2


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