As osteoclasts have the central roles in normal bone remodeling, it is ideal to regulate only the osteoclasts performing pathological bone destruction without affecting normal osteoclasts. Based on a hypothesis that pathological osteoclasts form under the pathological microenvironment of the bone tissues, we here set up optimum culture conditions to examine the entity of pathologically activated osteoclasts (PAOCs). Through searching various inflammatory cytokines and their combinations, we found the highest resorbing activity of osteoclasts when osteoclasts were formed in the presence of M-CSF, receptor activator of NF-κB ligand, and IL-1β. We have postulated that these osteoclasts are PAOCs. Analysis using confocal laser microscopy revealed that PAOCs showed extremely high proton secretion detected by the acid-sensitive fluorescence probe Rh-PM and bone resorption activity compared with normal osteoclasts. PAOCs showed unique morphology bearing high thickness and high motility with motile cellular processes in comparison with normal osteoclasts. We further examined the expression of Kindlin-3 and Talin-1, essential molecules for activating integrin b-chains. Although normal osteoclasts express high levels of Kindlin-3 and Talin-1, expression of these molecules was markedly suppressed in PAOCs, suggesting the abnormality in the adhesion property. When whole membrane surface of mature osteoclasts was biotinylated and analyzed, the IL-1β-induced cell surface protein was detected. PAOCs could form a subpopulation of osteo-clasts possibly different from normal osteoclasts. PAOC-specific molecules could be an ideal target for regulating pathological bone destruction.
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