Pulsed electromagnetic fields inhibit human osteoclast formation and gene expression via osteoblasts

Zhiming He, Nagarajan Selvamurugan, Johanna Warshaw, Nicola C. Partridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) can be effective in promoting the healing of delayed union or nonunion fractures. We previously reported that PEMF (Spinal-Stim® by Orthofix, Inc., Lewisville, TX) stimulated proliferation, differentiation and mineralization of rat calvarial osteoblastic cells in culture. In the present work we investigated the effects of PEMF (Physio-Stim® by Orthofix, Inc., Lewisville, TX) on human bone marrow macrophages (hBMMs) differentiated to osteoclasts. PEMF had striking inhibitory effects on formation of osteoclasts from hBMMs from both younger and older women. There were significantly greater changes in gene expression as ascertained by RNAseq from cells from older women. Interestingly, all of the genes identified by RNAseq were upregulated, and all were genes of mesenchymal or osteoblastic cells and included members of the TGF-β signaling pathway and many extracellular matrix proteins, as well as RANKL and osteoprotegerin, indicating the mixed nature of these cultures. From these results, we suggest that PEMF can inhibit osteoclast formation via action on osteoblasts. Thus, PEMF may be very effective for bone mass maintenance in subjects with osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-203
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Gene expression
  • Human osteoblasts
  • Human osteoclasts
  • PEMF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology


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