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BACKGROUND: Osteoclasts are multinucleated cells (MNCs) that form from circulating mononuclear precursors in the presence of the receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B-ligand (RANKL) and macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF). AIM: To determine whether cytokines and growth factors influence RANKL/M-CSF induced osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption in Paget's disease. DESIGN: Prospective case-control study. METHODS: Serum levels of M-CSF, interleukin (IL)-1 beta, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha) were measured in 13 Paget's disease patients and 8 normal controls. The effect of serum from Paget's patients on osteoclast formation was also assessed. RESULTS: Serum levels of IL-1 beta, IL-6 and TNFalpha were low or undetectable in Paget's disease patients and normal controls. Levels of M-CSF were significantly increased in Paget's patients who were not currently under treatment. In Paget's patients under treatment, serum M-CSF levels were not significantly different from normal controls. The addition of serum from untreated Paget's patients dose-dependently increased RANKL-induced osteoclast formation and lacunar resorption in normal monocyte cultures; elevated IL-6 levels were found in the supernatant and the addition of a specific antibody to human IL-6 blocked the increase in osteoclast formation and resorption. Serum from untreated Paget's patients also induced osteoclast formation in the absence of exogenous M-CSF; an antibody specific to human M-CSF abolished this effect. DISCUSSION: Both M-CSF and IL-6 play a major role in osteoclast formation and bone resorption in Paget's disease and measurement of serum M-CSF may provide a useful indicator of disease activity.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





233 - 240


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Biomarkers, Case-Control Studies, Cytokines, Female, Growth Substances, Humans, Interleukin-6, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Male, Middle Aged, Osteitis Deformans, Osteoclasts, Prospective Studies, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha