Glucocorticoids are known to increase the cyclic AMP response to parathyroid hormone (PTH) in cultured bone organs or bone cells. Using the osteoblast-like cell line ROS 17/2.8, which possesses receptors for both PTH and glucocorticoids, we investigated which component of the complex hormone receptor-guanine nucleotide regulatory unit—adenylate cyclase was affected by dexamethasone treatment. In response to PTH, isoproterenol or forskolin, a compound that is supposed to act directly on the catalytic unit, cyclic AMP production by intact cells and adenylate cyclase activity in purified plasma membrane were markedly increased by dexamethasone. Whereas NaF, guanosine 5′-[beta gamma-imido]triphosphate and Mn/ stimulated adenylate cyclase activity were similarly enhanced in membranes isolated from glucocorticoid-treated cells, the activity of the stimulatory guanine nucleotide regulatory unit, as assessed by reconstitution into membranes from the CYC- clone, which is genetically devoid of this component, was not altered. Thus in osteoblast-like cells dexamethasone appears to increase cyclic AMP synthesis by influencing the catalytic unit. Moreover, since it has been reported that glucocorticoids may produce changes in cell calcium metabolism, we evaluated cytoplasmic free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) and intracellular Ca2+ stores mobilizable by the bivalent-cationophore ionomycin, by using the intracellular fluorescent indicator Quin-2. The results indicated that dexamethasone treatment did not influence [Ca2+]i but markedly decreased ionomycin-releasable Ca2+ stores.

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