Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Place of publication
Urban und Fischer
The osteoclast (OC) is a multinuclear bone-resorbing cell which shares several characteristics with cells of the mononuclear phagocyte system. Unlike terminally differentiated macrophages, OCs possess specialized characteristics such as tartrate resistant acid phosphatase activity and the presence of calcitonin receptors. It appears that myeloid progenitor cells, probably granulocyte-macrophage colony-forming units, generate OC precursors which then differentiate and fuse into OCs under the regulation of osteotropic hormones, cytokines and other local factors. Parathyroid hormone and 1,25 dihydroxy Vitamin D3 induce both the formation and fusion of OC precursors, while calcitonin inhibits fusion. Osteoblasts also produce factor(s) which regulate OC precursor differentiation and therefore bone resorption; the nature of these factor(s), however, is unknown. In addition, the OC surface interacts specifically with a range of cellular and extracellular matrix-associated ligands which influence OC differentiation. The precise regulation of OC formation, however, is complex and awaits further investigation.