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Bone. 1993 Nov-Dec;14(6):865-9.

Ultrastructural investigations of bone resorptive cells in two types of autosomal dominant osteopetrosis.

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Institute of Clinical Research, Odense University Hospital, Denmark.


In order to investigate the ultrastructure of bone resorptive cells in the two types of adult benign human osteopetrosis, iliac crest biopsies were obtained from 11 patients and 10 normal males, who served as a control group. Six patients had the radiological type I (4 women, 2 men, aged 23-58 years, mean = 36.5 years), and 5 type II disease (5 men, aged 20-48 years, mean = 29.8 years). The normal controls (aged 23-48 years, mean 34.1 years) were recruited from the medical staff. The biopsies were immediately divided. From each patients, half was embedded in paraffin for histochemistry and light microscopy, and half in epon for transmission electron microscopy. The osteoclasts were markedly reduced in number and size in Type I disease (0.2 +/- .7 cells vs. 2.9 +/- 1.0 cells per 2.7 mm2 of bone area, p < 0.01) compared to controls, and stained only weakly for tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP). At the ultrastructural level, no signs of active bone resorption were identified, whereas numerous mononuclear cells were observed at the bone surfaces. In type II disease, the osteoclasts were large and highly multi-nucleated, with an increased number (8.3 +/- 2.3 cells vs. 2.9 +/- 1.0. cells per 2.7 mm2 of bone area, p < 0.01) compared to controls. In all patients with this type, but never in type I or in the controls, a smooth, TRAP-positive substance was seen between the osteoclasts and the bone surface. Ultrastructurally, this substance was amorphous, with a condensation along the cell membrane.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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