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Am J Physiol. 1996 Oct;271(4 Pt 1):C1025-31.

Effects of osteoclastic resorption on bone surface ion composition.

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Department of Medicine, University of Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Osteoclasts are responsible for resorption of bone mineral. To determine how osteoclasts alter bone surface ion composition, neonatal mouse bone cells were isolated and cultured in the presence of parathyroid hormone (PTH) on bovine cortical bone. Surface ion composition of the resulting osteoclastic resorption pits was compared with that of unresorbed bone, utilizing a high-resolution scanning ion microprobe. Cortical bone cultured with cells in the presence of PTH had numerous resorption pits. The unresorbed area adjacent to the pits had a ratio of surface 23Na/40Ca of 18.7 + 1.6 (mean counts per second of detected secondary ions +95% confidence interval) and 39K/40Ca of 2.3 + 2.2. At the base of the pits, the ratio of 23Na/40Ca was 1.0 + 2.0 and 39K/40Ca was 0.1 + 1.0 (each different from area adjacent to the pit, P < 0.001). The ratio of 23Na/39K in the unresorbed area was not different from that at the base of the pit. Thus osteoclasts induce a decrease in the ratio of surface ion composition of both 23Na/40Ca and 39K/40Ca but not 23Na/39K in bovine cortical bone. The elevated ratios of 23Na/40Ca and 39K/40Ca on the surface, but not at the base of the pits, indicate adsorption of medium ions onto the mineral. Because osteoclasts foster the release of bone Ca, these results indicate that osteoclastic resorption causes a greater, and approximately equal, release of both 23Na and 39K compared with 40Ca from bone mineral. Osteoclasts appear to remove nonselectively the surface mineral that had been exposed to the medium, uncovering underlying mineral.

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