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Endocrinology. 1998 Dec;139(12):5182-93.

Echistatin inhibits the migration of murine prefusion osteoclasts and the formation of multinucleated osteoclast-like cells.

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Department of Bone Biology and Osteoporosis Research, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pennsylvania 19486, USA.


The vitronectin receptor alpha(v)beta3 is highly expressed in osteoclasts and was shown to play a critical role in osteoclast function in vivo. The objective of this study was to examine the role of alpha(v)beta3 integrin in osteoclast formation in vitro using the inhibitory disintegrin echistatin, an RGD-containing snake venom. We documented by immunocytochemistry and Northern blot analysis that during murine osteoclast-like cell (OCL) formation in a coculture of mouse osteoblastic MB1.8 cells and bone marrow cells there is increased expression of the alpha(v) and beta3 integrin subunits. Echistatin binds preferentially to the membrane fraction of isolated enriched OCLs (IC50 = 0.6 nM), and this binding is inhibited by vitronectin receptor-blocking polyclonal antibodies. Additionally, cross-linking of radiolabeled echistatin to OCLs, followed by immunoprecipitation with antibodies to vitronectin or fibronectin receptors, shows that alpha(v)beta3 integrin is the predominant receptor for echistatin in this system. In this coculture, echistatin completely inhibits the formation of multinucleated OCLs, but not that of mononuclear prefusion OCLs (pOCs). This inhibition is RGD and dose dependent (IC50 = 0.7 nM). We tested the hypothesis that inhibition of OCL formation may be due to interference with pOC migration and found that echistatin inhibited macrophage colony-stimulating factor-induced migration and fusion of pOCs (IC50 = 1 and 0.6 nM, respectively). Echistatin inhibition of pOCs migration and fusion is also RGD dependent. These results suggest that the integrin alpha(v)beta3 plays a role in pOC migration, which can explain the inhibitory effect of echistatin on multinucleated osteoclast formation in vitro.

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