In the present study, we investigated whether high dietary Ca and exogenous parathyroid hormone 1–34 fragments (PTH 1–34) have synergistic effects on bone formation in adult mice, and explored the related mechanisms. Adult male mice were fed a normal diet, a high-Ca diet, a PTH-treated diet, or a high-Ca diet combined with subcutaneously injected PTH 1–34 (80 μg/kg per d) for 4 weeks. Bone mineral density, trabecular bone volume, osteoblast number, alkaline phosphatase (ALP)- and type I collagen-positive areas, and the expression levels of osteoblastic bone formation-related genes and proteins were increased significantly in mice fed the high-Ca diet, the PTH-treated diet, and, even more dramatically, the high-Ca diet combined with PTH. Osteoclast number and surface and the ratio of receptor activator for nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL):osteoprotegerin (OPG) were decreased in the high-Ca diet treatment group, increased in the PTH treatment group, but not in the combined treatment group. Furthermore, third-passage osteoblasts were treated with high Ca (5 mm), PTH 1–34 (10− 8
m) or high Ca combined with PTH 1–34. Osteoblast viability and ALP activity were increased in either the high Ca-treated or PTH-treated cultures and, even more dramatically, in the cultures treated with high Ca plus PTH, with consistent up-regulation of the expression levels of osteoblast proliferation and differentiation-related genes and proteins. These results indicate that dietary Ca and PTH play synergistic roles in promoting osteoblastic bone formation by stimulating osteoblast proliferation and differentiation.