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Science. 1997 Apr 11;276(5310):270-3.

Removal of osteoclast bone resorption products by transcytosis.

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Department of Anatomy and Biocenter, University of Oulu, Kajaanintie 52 A, 90220 Oulu, Finland.


Osteoclasts are multinucleated cells responsible for bone resorption. During the resorption cycle, osteoclasts undergo dramatic changes in their polarity, and resorbing cells reveal four functionally and structurally different membrane domains. Bone degradation products, both organic and inorganic, were endocytosed from the ruffled border membrane. They were then found to be transported in vesicles through the cell to the plasma membrane domain, located in the middle of the basal membrane, where they were liberated into the extracellular space. These results explain how resorbing osteoclasts can simultaneously remove large amounts of matrix degradation products and penetrate into bone.

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