Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 173, Issue 2, pp 306–315 | Cite as

Biological Silicon Stimulates Collagen Type 1 and Osteocalcin Synthesis in Human Osteoblast-Like Cells Through the BMP-2/Smad/RUNX2 Signaling Pathway

  • Meng Dong
  • Guangjun Jiao
  • Haichun Liu
  • Wenliang Wu
  • Shangzhi Li
  • Qingshi Wang
  • Daxia Xu
  • Xiaofeng Li
  • Huan Liu
  • Yunzhen Chen


Silicon is essential for bone formation. A low-silicon diet leads to bone defects, and numerous animal models have demonstrated that silicon supplementation increases bone mineral density (BMD) and reduces bone fragility. However, the exact mechanism of this action has not been characterized. In this study, we aimed to determine the role of biological silicon in the induction of osteoblast differentiation and the possible underlying mechanism. We examined whether orthosilicic acid promotes collagen type 1 (COL-1) and osteocalcin synthesis through the bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2)/Smad1/5/runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) signaling pathway by investigating its effect in vitro at several concentrations on COL-1 and osteocalcin synthesis in human osteosarcoma cell lines (MG-63 and U2-OS). The expression of relevant proteins was detected by Western blotting following exposure to noggin, an inhibitor of BMP-2. In MG-63 cells, immunofluorescence methods were applied to detect changes in the expression of BMP-2, phosphorylated Smad1/5 (P-Smad1/5), and RUNX2. Furthermore, rat bone mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) were used to determine the effect of orthosilicic acid on osteogenic differentiation. Exposure to 10 μM orthosilicic acid markedly increased the expression of BMP-2, P-Smad1/5, RUNX2, COL-1, and osteocalcin in osteosarcoma cell lines. Enhanced ALP activity and the formation of mineralized nodules were also observed under these conditions. Furthermore, preconditioning with noggin inhibited the silicon-induced upregulation of P-Smad1/5, RUNX2, and COL-1 expression. In conclusion, the BMP-2/Smad1/5/RUNX2 signaling pathway participates in the silicon-mediated induction of COL-1 and osteocalcin synthesis, and orthosilicic acid promotes the osteogenic differentiation of rat BMSCs.


Orthosilicic acid Bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) Phosphorylated Smad1/5 (P-Smad1/5) Smad1/5 Runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2) Osteoporosis 



This study was supported by a grant from the Department of Science and Technology of Shandong Province (2014GSF118097).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meng Dong
    • 1
  • Guangjun Jiao
    • 1
  • Haichun Liu
    • 1
  • Wenliang Wu
    • 1
  • Shangzhi Li
    • 1
  • Qingshi Wang
    • 1
  • Daxia Xu
    • 1
  • Xiaofeng Li
    • 1
  • Huan Liu
    • 1
  • Yunzhen Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OrthopedicsQilu Hospital of Shandong UniversityJi’nanChina

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