Scanning Microscopy


The morphology of in situ osteoclasts on endocortical surfaces of the femoral midshaft was examined by scanning electron microscopy. Mice were perfusion fixed and bone marrow plugs were flushed out of femoral diaphyseal cylinders. The bones were split longitudinally and the endocortical surfaces examined. This method left on the bone surface most of the endosteal cells in their natural, in situ shape and position. Most of the bone surface was lined by contiguous bone lining cells covering resting bone surfaces, making a clear physical barrier between the bone and marrow compartments. On resorption surfaces, which were characterized by excavation cavities, osteoclasts were very polymorphic and spread on the bone surface, extending large pseudopods. The in vivo morphology of individual osteoclasts appears somewhat similar to that described by other investigators on calvaria surfaces and for isolated osteoclasts adherent to artificial substrates. In the resorption domains, osteoclasts appeared to be connected with adjacent osteoclasts, suggesting that the cells form a functional syncytium in resorption areas.

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