MG-63 cells

MG-63 cells are fibroblast-like human osteosarcoma cells that offer a wide range of research applications in the biomedical field. This may include studying bone-related processes such as bone development, differentiation, etc. In addition, the MG-63 cell line serves as a suitable in vitro model to study bone cell viability, proliferation, and adhesion.

This article will cover all the crucial information about the MG-63 cell line you need to start working with it, including:

  1. General characteristics and origin of the MG-63 cell line
  2. Culturing information about MG-63 cell line
  3. MG-63 cell line: Advantages & disadvantages
  4. Applications of MG-63 cells
  5. Research Publications Featuring MG-63 Cells
  6. Resources for MG-63 Cell line: Protocols, Videos, and More

1.      General characteristics and origin of the MG-63 cell line

This section of the article will cover the origin and general characteristics of the MG-63 cell line. You will learn: What is the MG-63 cell line? What is the origin of the MG63 cell line? What is the morphology of MG-63 cells? What is the MG-63 cell size?

  • MG-63 is a type of osteoblast cell line originating from the bone of a 14-year-old male osteosarcoma patient (Caucasian). A. Billiau and colleagues deposited this cell line in 1977.
  • The MG-63 cell line possesses a fibroblast cell-like morphology.
  • Human osteosarcoma cells (MG-63) exhibit hypo-triploidy. The modal chromosome number for these cells is 66, which occurs in approximately 44% of the cell population. Higher ploidies are also reported in almost 2% of the cell population. Additionally, 18-19 marker chromosomes are abundant in all cells.

SEM imaging of a sarcoma cell culture.

2.      Culturing information about MG-63 cell line

Important information about cell line culturing requirements can make your job easy. This section of the article lists all the key points critical for culturing and maintaining MG-63 cells. Here you will learn: What is the doubling time of MG-63 cells? What growth media is used for MG-63 cells? What is the seeding density of MG-63 cells?

Key Points for Culturing MG-63 Cells

Doubling Time

The population doubling time of MG-63 cells ranges between 28-38 hours, depending upon the culture conditions.

Growth Properties

MG-63 is an adherent cell line.

Seeding Density

1 x 104 cells/cm2 cell density is recommended for MG-63 cells. Adherent cells are washed with 1 x phosphate buffer saline (PBS) without magnesium and calcium. These cells are then incubated with dissociation solution (Accutase), added with fresh medium, and centrifuged. The collected cell pellet is resuspended in fresh medium and dispensed into the new flask for growth.

Growth Medium

DMEM or Ham's F12 media are used to culture MG-63 cells. These media can be augmented with 5% fetal bovine serum (FBS), 3.0 g/L glucose, 2.5 mM L-glutamine, and 1.2 g/L NaHCO3 for optimum cell growth. Media should be replaced 2-3 times per week.

Growth Conditions

A humidified incubator at 37°C temperature and a 5% CO2 supply are required to culture MG-63 cells.


These osteoblast-like cells can be stored in the vapour phase of liquid nitrogen or at below -150°C temperature to maintain cell viability.

Freezing Process and Medium

CM-1 or CM-ACF media are used for MG-63 cell freezing. A slow freezing process is generally recommended to prevent cells from shock and protect their viability.

Thawing Process

Frozen cells are incubated for 40 to 60 seconds in a pre-warmed water bath (37 degrees Celsius). Cells are resuspended in fresh growth media and poured into the new flask. After 24 hours of incubation, the media is replaced to remove freezing media components.  

Biosafety Level

Biosafety level one laboratory settings are necessary for handling and maintenance of MG-63 cultures.

MG-63 cells before and after reaching confluence.

3.      MG-63 cell line: Advantages & disadvantages

MG-63 is a widely used osteoblast cell line. It has several advantages and disadvantages associated with it. Herein, we will mention a few major pros and cons of the MG-63 cell line.


The advantages of the MG-63 cells are:

Osteoblast-like features

MG-63 cell line exhibits osteoblast-like characteristics, making it suitable for studying bone-related processes and diseases. It can also be used to investigate cell adhesion, proliferation, and viability on titanium surfaces [1].

Transfection amenability

MG-63 cells are extensively used in transfection studies, enabling research on gene expression, function, and cellular processes.

High-level interferon production

MG-63 cells are capable of high-level interferon production. They can yield 3.7-fold higher interferon yields per cm² than diploid fibroblasts when induced with cycloheximide, polyinosinic acid-polycytidylic acid, and actinomycin [2].


The disadvantages associated with MG-63 B cells are:


MG-63 cells exhibit heterogeneity within the cell population, which may impact reproducibility.

Tumor cell line

MG-63 is a cancer cell line and may not fully represent normal cell behaviour and physiology, limiting its application in certain lab experiments.

 4.      Applications of MG-63 cells

MG-63 cells are an excellent research tool. They offer many promising applications in the research field. A few major research applications of MG-63 cells are listed here.

  • Study of bone-related processes/diseases: MG-63 cells are osteoblast-like (bone-forming) cells. Therefore, these cells are extensively used to study bone diseases and cellular processes, including development, differentiation, and mineralization. In addition, the cells are extensively used to screen therapeutic drugs to promote bone healing. Research used MG-63 cells to study the therapeutic potential of green synthesized zinc oxide nanoparticles from Scutellaria baicalensis on bone cell proliferation, mineralization, and differentiation [3].
  • Cancer research: MG-63 cells are widely used in cancer research. Several studies have used these osteosarcoma cells to understand cancer signalling pathways and evaluate the cytotoxic and therapeutic potential of drugs. A study conducted in 2019 explored the anti-tumour properties of a natural compound, Tomentosin, using MG-63 cells. The findings showed that Tomentosin exhibits anticancer effects by triggering intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production [4].

5.      Research Publications Featuring MG-63 Cells

The following are some research publications featuring MG-63, the osteoblast-like cell line.

miR-192 enhances sensitivity of methotrexate drug to MG-63 osteosarcoma cancer cells

This article was published in Pathology - Research and Practice journal in 2020. This research used MG-63 cells to study molecular mechanisms involved in drug resistance in osteosarcoma cancer cells (MG-63). The results revealed that miRNA-192 could be a useful target in overcoming methotrexate drug resistance in osteosarcoma.

Green synthesized zinc oxide nanoparticles regulates the apoptotic expression in bone cancer cells MG-63 cells

This research is published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology (2020). The study reported the anticancer potential of green synthesized zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnONPs) from Rehmanniae Radix against bone cancer cells (MG-63).

Osteogenic differentiation and mineralization potential of zinc oxide nanoparticles from Scutellaria baicalensis on human osteoblast-like MG-63 cells

This research article was published in 2021 in the Materials Science and Engineering journal. This study proposed the bone healing properties of biosynthesized zinc oxide nanoparticles from the Scutellaria baicalensis plant using the MG-63 cell line.

Curcumin inhibits the proliferation and invasion of MG-63 cells through inactivation of the p-JAK2/p-STAT3 pathway

This study was published in the Onco Targets and Therapy journal in 2021. The research proposed the anti-tumour properties of curcumin compound against osteosarcoma cells. The compound exerted these therapeutic effects by inactivating the p-JAK2/p-STAT3 cancer signalling pathway.

Influence of biofield treated vitamin D3 on proliferation, differentiation, and maturation of bone-related parameters in MG-63 cell-line

This research was published in 2018 in the International Journal of Biomedical Engineering and Clinical Science. The study found that the Biofield Energy Treated vitamin D3 positively influences bone cell proliferation, maturation, and differentiation and improves bone health parameters.

6.      Resources for MG-63 Cell line: Protocols, Videos, and More

Several resources are available on the MG-63 cell line elucidating its cell culturing and transfection protocols.

  • MG-63 cell transfection: This video comprehensively explains the transfection protocol for MG-63 cells.
  • Passaging adherent cells: This video guides subculturing or passaging adherent cell lines. It will help you learn basic cell culture protocols.

The following link will provide you with the culturing protocol for MG-63 cells.

  • MG-63 cell culturing: This website provides an easy and detailed protocol to subculture or split the MG-63 cell line.


  1. Wandiyanto, J.V., et al., The Fate of Osteoblast-Like MG-63 Cells on Pre-Infected Bactericidal Nanostructured Titanium Surfaces. Materials (Basel), 2019. 12(10).
  2. Billiau, A., et al., Human interferon: mass production in a newly established cell line, MG-63. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 1977. 12(1): p. 11-5.
  3. Tang, Y., et al., Osteogenic differentiation and mineralization potential of zinc oxide nanoparticles from Scutellaria baicalensis on human osteoblast-like MG-63 cells. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 2021. 119: p. 111656.
  4. Lee, C.M., et al., Tomentosin displays anti-carcinogenic effect in human osteosarcoma MG-63 cells via the induction of intracellular reactive oxygen species. International journal of molecular sciences, 2019. 20(6): p. 1508.