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J Clin Invest. 1990 Apr;85(4):1280-6.

Atypical multinucleated cells form in long-term marrow cultures from patients with Paget's disease.

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  • 1Research Service, Audie Murphy Veterans Administration Hospital, San Antonio, Texas 78284.


Although Paget's disease is the most flagrant example of a primary osteoclast disorder, little is known of osteoclast biology in this disease. In this report we have studied the formation of cells with the osteoclast phenotype in long-term cultures of marrow mononuclear cells derived from patients with Paget's disease, and compared these with similar cells formed in long-term marrow cultures from normal individuals, and with osteoclasts present in pagetic bone. Osteoclasts formed in pagetic marrow cultures resembled osteoclasts present in pagetic bone, but were distinctly different from osteoclasts formed in normal marrow cultures. Osteoclast formation was 10-20-fold greater in pagetic marrow cultures than in normal cultures. The multinucleated cells formed in cultures of pagetic marrow were much larger in size, were hyperresponsive to 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D, had more nuclei per cell, had increased levels of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activity and had ultrastructural features which were not seen in multinucleated cells formed from normal marrow mononuclear cells. These pagetic marrow-derived multinucleated cells formed large resorption lacunae on calcified matrices and cross-reacted with monoclonal antibodies which preferentially bind to osteoclasts. The multinucleated cells formed from marrow obtained from uninvolved sites in Paget's patients also displayed these abnormal features.

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