The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effect of IGF-I for DNA synthetic activity and the mRNA expression of bone matrix protein, type I collagen and osteopontin in prolifetation and differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells. To evaluate DNA synthetic activity, cells were seeded at 2 x 10(4) cells/ml in 24 well plates and to evaluate mRNA of type I collagen and osteopontin cells were seeded at 5 x 10(5) cells/ml in 100mm culture dishes. These cells were cultured in alpha-minimum essential medium(alpha-MEM) containing 10% fetal bovine serum at 37degrees C, 5% CO2 incubator. For DNA synthetic activity test 1, 10, 100ng/ml IGF-I were added to the cells which had been cultured for 3 days before 24 hours. For type I collagen mRNA expression 1, 10ng/ml IGF-I were added to the cells which had been cultured for 5, 10 days and for osteopontin mRNA expression 0.1, 1, 10ng/ml IGF-I were added to the cells which had been cultured for 5, 15, 20 days. Cell proliferaton was measured by the incorporation of [3H]-thymidine into DNA and expression for type I collagen and osteopontin were measured by northern blot analysis. The results were as follows: DNA synthetic activity were generally higher in experimental group than control group. Expressions of type I collagen mRNA were higher at 5 day group and much lower at 10 day group in the control groups. In the experimental groups, mRNA expressions were slightly increased when 1 ng/ml IGF-I were added to 5 day group and decreased in all experimental 10 day groups. Expressions of osteopontin mRNA were higher at 20 day groups and lower at 15 day groups than the control groups. In the experimental groups, mRNA expressions were incereased when 0.1, 1 ng/ml IGF-I were added to 5 day group and in all the 15 day groups, but decreased when 0.1, 1, 10 ng/ml IGF-I were added to 20 day groups. IGF-I stimulated DNA synthetic activity of MC3T3-E1 cells during proliferation stage significantly, did not greatly changed effects on type I collagen mRNA expression and stimulated osteopontin mRNA expression at 15 day especially. In conclusion, we suggests that IGF-I have a tendency of stimulation effect of DNA synthetic activity but do not stimulate type I collagen mRNA in proliferation stage of MC3T3-E1 cell cultures, and stimulate osteopontin mRNA in differentiation stage of MC3T3-E1 cell cultures.