Cells and Materials


The resorptive capacity of osteoclasts in vitro has been used as an indicator of bone resorption. However, the kinetics of osteoclast development and senescence is not well understood. It has been noted that mononuclear precursors migrate to calcified substrate and after multi-nucleation become competent bone resorbing cells. Osteoclasts, once finished a wave of resorption, become senescent. In order to determine the survival characteristics of osteoclast populations involved in calcified tissue destruction, we have investigated the time course of the recruitment to dentin and apoptosis of osteoclasts. We have established the linkage between these measurements and the time course of the appearance of pits using both chick and rat osteoclasts in vitro. Osteoclasts from both species caused increases in pit number associated with decreases in cell number on dentin. In the rat model, we have used a fluorescent linker to mark cells before they migrate to dentin and have shown that cells can be followed from the culture dish onto the dentin disc. In the chick model, we have used time lapse cinematography and fluorescent nuclear staining to observe death of osteoclasts on dentin and have established an osteoclast half live in vitro.