First published July 1, 1987 - More info
Osteoclasts mediate the process of bone resorption. However, little is known about the mechanisms that regulate the formation of either osteoclasts or osteoclast precursors. In contrast, colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) are well-known to regulate the formation of myeloid cells and their precursors. Because osteoclasts and myeloid cells may originate from a common stem cell, we examined the effects of two CSFs, granulocyte-macrophage CSF (GM-CSF) and interleukin 3 (IL-3), on bone resorption, osteoclast formation, and the incorporation of recently replicated nuclei into the osteoclasts of mouse bone cultures. CSFs had little effect on the formation rate of osteoclasts or their resorptive activity but significantly decreased the percentage of recently replicated osteoclast progenitor cell nuclei present in the osteoclasts of bones treated with parathyroid hormone. GM-CSF also increased the number of myeloid cells in the marrow space of the cultures and the percentage of these cells derived from recently replicated progenitors. These results demonstrate that GM-CSF and IL-3 can regulate the development of osteoclasts from recently replicated precursor cells in cultured fetal mouse long bones. However, the mechanisms by which CSFs influence osteoclast formation are difficult to determine from these studies because markers for the osteoclast progenitor and precursor do not exist. These data also provide evidence that the differentiation of osteoclast progenitors is regulated by different factors at different points in their ontogeny.