Pagetic osteoclasts are greatly increased in number and size and have increased numbers of nuclei per cell compared to normal osteoclasts. The mechanisms responsible for enhanced osteoclast formation in Paget's disease are unknown. We have used our recently described model system for pagetic osteoclast formation to evaluate culture media conditioned by these atypical multinucleated cells (MNC) to determine if pagetic osteoclasts produce an autocrine or paracrine factor that enhances osteoclast formation. Conditioned media from long-term bone marrow cultures from patients with Paget's disease stimulated osteoclast-like MNC formation in normal marrow cultures. At least part of this activity could be ascribed to interleukin 6 (IL-6). In contrast, conditioned media from normal marrow cultures contained lower levels of IL-6 and did not stimulate formation of osteoclast-like MNC. 7 of 8 bone marrow plasma samples taken from involved bones and 18 of 27 peripheral blood serum samples from Paget's patients had high levels of IL-6. Normal marrow plasma and peripheral blood serum had no or very low levels of IL-6. These results suggest that IL-6 produced by marrow and/or bone cells in patients with Paget's disease may be an autocrine/paracrine factor for pagetic osteoclasts.
G D Roodman, N Kurihara, Y Ohsaki, A Kukita, D Hosking, A Demulder, J F Smith, F R Singer