Osteoblasts are thought to secrete factors that regulate the rate of osteoclastic bone resorption. We studied the effect of osteoblast conditioned medium on bone degradation by multinucleated osteoclast-like cells generated in vitro from mononuclear precursors and found that the medium stimulates bone degradation primarily through interactions with osteoclast precursors. The conditioned medium also stimulates expression of the osteoclast-specific antigen 121F. The increased bone degradation, but not increased 121F expression, is due to the conditioned medium maintaining activity of the osteoclast precursors. Although the osteoclast precursors exhibit the DNA fragmentation characteristic of apoptosis, the osteoblast conditioned medium does not prevent such fragmentation. Chicken macrophage growth factor neither mimics nor augments the ability of the conditioned medium to stimulate bone degradation. Studies of osteoclast generation or function should carefully consider whether the effects are dependent on the viability of the resorbing cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-323
Number of pages7
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1992


  • Bone resorption
  • Osteoblast conditioned medium
  • Osteoclast precursors


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