Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Abundant implant-derived biomaterial wear particles are generated in aseptic loosening and are deposited in periprosthetic tissues in which they are phagocytosed by mononuclear and multinucleated macrophage-like cells. It has been stated that the multinucleated cells which contain wear particles are not bone-resorbing osteoclasts. To investigate the validity of this claim we isolated human osteoclasts from giant-cell tumours of bone and rat osteoclasts from long bones. These were cultured on glass coverslips and on cortical bone slices in the presence of particles of latex, PMMA and titanium. Osteoclast phagocytosis of these particle types was shown by light microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis and SEM. Giant cells containing phagocytosed particles were seen to be associated with the formation of resorption lacunae. Osteoclasts containing particles were also calcitonin-receptor-positive and showed an inhibitory response to calcitonin. Our findings demonstrate that osteoclasts are capable of phagocytosing particles of a wide range of size, including particles of polymeric and metallic biomaterials found in periprosthetic tissues, and that after particle phagocytosis, they remain fully functional, hormone-responsive, bone-resorbing cells.

Original publication




Journal article


J bone joint surg br

Publication Date





849 - 856


Bone Resorption, Bone Substitutes, Giant Cells, Foreign-Body, Humans, Latex, Leukocytes, Mononuclear, Microscopy, Electron, Scanning, Osteoclasts, Particle Size, Phagocytosis, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Prosthesis Failure, Receptors, Calcitonin, Titanium