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The antigenic phenotype of the human osteoclast, which is known to be derived from a circulating mononuclear precursor cell of haemopoietic origin, is controversial. Recent studies have shown that macrophage as well as megakaryocyte/platelet antigens are expressed by osteoclasts. In this study, we have sought to define, by immunohistochemistry, the nature and possible function of platelet antigens expressed by human osteoclasts in foetal and adult bone specimens. Monoclonal antibodies to platelet glycoprotein IIIa (gpIIIa) and CD9 antibodies stained osteoclasts in all bone specimens examined. Fibrinogen was also localized to the osteoclast membrane in foetal bone imprints. In addition, we found that CD9 and gpIIIa antibodies reacted weakly with monocytes in buffy coat smears. Antibodies to factor 8 and glycoproteins Ib and IIb/IIIa did not react with osteoclasts. These results show that osteoclasts, monocytes, macrophages, megakaryocytes and platelets possess common antigens and that fibrinogen is present on the surface of osteoclasts. By analogy with platelets, CD9 and gpIIIa may play a role in fibrinogen binding by osteoclasts. Possible mechanisms by which platelet antigens and fibrinogen binding could affect osteoclast function are proposed.


Journal article


J cell sci

Publication Date



89 ( Pt 1)


115 - 122


Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antigens, Surface, Blood Platelets, Fibrinogen, Humans, Immunoenzyme Techniques, Immunohistochemistry, Osteoclasts