PURPOSE: To investigate the effects of irradiation on the phenotypic expression of the MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cell line, especially on the osteonectin and bone sialoprotein. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cells were irradiated with a single dose of 0.5, 1, 4 and 8 Gy at a dose rate of 5.38 Gy/min using Cs-137 irradiator. After specimens were harvested, total RNA was extracted on the 3rd, 7th, 14th, 21st day after irradiation. The total RNA was reverse-transcribed and the resulting cDNAs were subjected to amplification by PCR with a pair of primers. RESULTS: The irradiated cells showed a dose-dependent increase in osteonectin mRNA expression when compared with the unirradiated control group. The irradiated cells showed no difference in bone sialoprotein mRNA expression when compared with the unirradiated control group. In accordance with the duration of culture period after irradiation, the level of osteonectin mRNA expression showed no difference, but it increased a little at the 21st day in the 4 and 8 Gy exposure groups. In the case of bone sialoprotein, however, the level of mRNA expression increased significantly at the 3rd and 7th day after irradiation, but it showed no difference at the 14th and 21st day when compared with the control group. CONCLUSION: These results showed that each single dose of 0.5, 1, 4 and 8 Gy influenced the mRNA expression of osteonectin and bone sialoprotein at the calcification stage of osteoblastic cells, suggesting that single dose of irradiation affected the osteoblastic bone formation at the cell level.