Toxic effect of rifampicin on human osteoblast-like cells

S Isefuku, C J Joyner, A H Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the effects of rifampicin on osteoblast-like cells derived from adult human bone in vitro. Cancellous bone was collected from five different individuals during elective orthopaedic operations and cultured in antibiotic-free media. Total DNA, 3H-thymidine incorporation and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity were measured after the cells were cultured for 4 days in media containing concentrations of rifampicin ranging from 0 to 1000 microg/ml. Mean total DNA was decreased at concentrations of 10 microg/ml and above in the cultures obtained from four out of five individuals but these decreases were significant in the cultures from only two individuals. 3H-thymidine incorporation, a more sensitive indicator of change in cell proliferation, and ALP activity were significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in all of the cultures containing 3 and 7 microg/ml, respectively. In the clinical setting, serum concentrations of rifampicin often exceed 10 microg/ml after systemic administration. The present study has shown that rifampicin, at these concentrations, can inhibit the proliferation of osteoblast-like cells in vitro. Further studies should be carried out to assess whether rifampicin is detrimental to the bone repair process in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-4
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2001


  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Antibiotics, Antitubercular
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Femur
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoblasts
  • Rifampin
  • Thymidine
  • Tritium


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