Bone Resorption by Osteoclasts

Rcjohnsen rcjohnsen at
Sun Sep 3 22:44:34 EST 2000

Sci.  Sept. 1, 2000  1504--1508
Bone Resorption by Osteoclasts 

Steven L. Teitelbaum  
Osteoporosis, a disease endemic in Western society, typically reflects an
imbalance in skeletal turnover so that bone resorption exceeds bone formation.
Bone resorption is the unique function of the osteoclast, and anti-osteoporosis
therapy to date has targeted this cell. The osteoclast is a specialized
macrophage polykaryon whose differentiation is principally regulated by
macrophage colony-stimulating factor, RANK ligand, and osteoprotegerin.
Reflecting integrin-mediated signals, the osteoclast develops a specialized
cytoskeleton that permits it to establish an isolated microenvironment between
itself and bone, wherein matrix degradation occurs by a process involving
proton transport. Osteopetrotic mutants have provided a wealth of information
about the genes that regulate the differentiation of osteoclasts and their
capacity to resorb bone.  
Department of Pathology, Washington University School of Medicine,
Barnes-Jewish Hospital North, Mailstop 90-31-649, 216 South Kingshighway, St.
Louis, MO 63110, USA. E-mail: teitelbs at 

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