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Br J Haematol. 2000 Nov;111(2):501-12.

Characterization of osteoclast precursors in human blood.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology/Pathology, Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320, USA.


Osteoclast precursors (OCPs) circulate in the mononuclear fraction of peripheral blood (PB), but their abundance and surface characteristics are unknown. Previous studies suggest that the receptor activator for NF-kappaB (RANK) on cytokine-treated OCPs in mouse bone marrow interacts with osteoprotegerin ligand (OPGL/TRANCE/RANKL/ODF) to initiate osteoclast differentiation. Hence, we used a fluorescent form of human OPGL (Hu-OPGL-F) to identify possible RANK-expressing OCPs in untreated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) using fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis. Monocytes [CD14-phycoerythrin (PE) antibody (Ab) positive (+) cells, 10-15% of PBMCs] all (98-100%) co-labelled with Hu-OPGL-F (n > 18). T lymphocytes (CD3-PE Ab+ cells, 66% of PBMCs) did not bind Hu-OPGL-F; however, B cells (CD19-PE Ab+ cells, 9% of PBMCs) were also positive for Hu-OPGL-F. All Hu-OPGL-F+ monocytes also co-labelled with CD33, CD61, CD11b, CD38, CD45 and CD54 Abs, but not CD34 or CD56 Abs. Hu-OPGL-F binding was dose dependent and competed with excess Hu-OPGL. When Hu-OPGL-F+, CD14-PE Ab+, CD33-PE Ab+, Hu-OPGL-F+/CD14-PE Ab+ or Hu-OPGL-F+/CD33-PE Ab+ cells were cultured with OPGL (20 ng/ml) and colony-stimulating factor (CSF)-1 (25 ng/ml), OC-like cells readily developed. Thus, all freshly isolated monocytes demonstrate displaceable Hu-OPGL-F binding, suggesting the presence of RANK on OCPs in PB; also, OCPs within a purified PB monocyte population form osteoclast-like cells in the complete absence of other cell types in OPGL and CSF-1 containing medium.

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