Cell-surface proteins preferentially expressed on osteoclasts are thought to play important roles in the functional modulation of the osteoclasts. Recently, we found a novel cell-surface antigen designated Kat1- antigen (Kat1-Ag) specifically expressed on rat osteoclasts. It would be useful to regulate the functional activity of the osteoclasts directly via an osteoclast-specific antigen expressed on the cell surface of the osteoclasts. In order to establish the basis of such an application, in the present study we established a method for the direct detection of osteoclasts in situ by a systemic administration of the anti-Kat1-Ag monoclonal antibody (mAb Kat1) to rats, and we successfully detected functional osteoclasts in situ. Prior to performing in vivo experiments, we examined the reactivity of the mAb Kat1 to the isolated rat osteoclasts. Approximately 40-80% of the osteoclasts were reactive with mAb Kat1, suggesting that this mAb recognizes osteoclasts in a specific differentiation or functional state. Calcitonin treatment of osteoclast-like cells formed in vitro from bone marrow cells resulted in a conversion of Kat1-positive osteoclast-like cells into Kat1-negative multinucleated cells, showing the positive correlation between the Kat1-Ag expression and the potential bone-resorbing activity of osteoclasts. Administration of this lineage-specific mAb to the peritoneal cavity of newborn rats resulted in a successful recruitment of mAb Kat1 to the newly formed osteoclasts and functional osteoclasts in a highly specific manner. Detailed analysis by immunoelectron microscopy revealed that this mAb specifically bound to the basolateral side of the active osteoclasts, which were identified by their typical ruffled border and clear zone, whereas the mAb did not react to postfunctional osteoclasts. These findings demonstrate a high potential utility of mAb Kat1 in osteoclast-targeted regulation of bone remodeling.
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