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Arch Oral Biol. 1997 Apr;42(4):305-15.

Immunocytochemical study of cathepsin L and rat salivary cystatin-3 in rat osteoclasts treated with E-64 in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Prosthetic Dentistry I, Faculty of Dentistry, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


The localization of cathepsin L and rat salivary cystatin-3 (RSC-3) in rat osteoclasts (rat femoral and alveolar bones) treated with or without E-64 (control) was examined immunocytochemically. In osteoclasts pretreated with E-64, immunoreactivity for cathepsin L was very weak extracellularly compared to that in the control osteoclasts. However, it was strong intracellularly. The localization of RSC-3 was unclear in the control osteoclasts, while in E-64 treated osteoclasts, both the clear zone and ruffled border areas showed a very strong immunoreaction. At the electron-microscopic level, in normal osteoclasts, numerous immunoreaction products for cathepsin L were found extracellularly in the bone matrix under the ruffled border, while few intracellular products were observed. In contrast, in the E-64-treated osteoclasts, only a few immunoreaction products were found extracellularly, while intracellularly cathepsin L was found in numerous endosome-lysosomal vacuoles. In the immunoreaction for RSC-3, the cytoplasm of the ruffled border was positive, and the tips of the RSC-3-positive ruffled border appeared to enter deeply into the bone matrix. Intracellularly, the granular reaction products of RSC-3 were found in the vacuoles (probably autophagolysosomes). Thus, in E-64-treated osteoclasts, inhibition of the extracellular release of cathepsin L was demonstrated. In addition, intralysosomal accumulation of RSC-3 and deep penetration of the RSC-3-positive ruffled border into the bone matrix were found. These findings suggest that RSC-3 is associated with the inhibition of cathepsin L in both the lysosomes (in the osteoclasts) and bone matrix.

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