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The origin and mechanism of formation of the osteoclast remains controversial. Although it is known to be derived from a circulating mononuclear percursor, the identity of this cell is unknown. Using a panel of monoclonal antibodies raised against macrophage and other marrow-derived cells, we determined the immunocytochemical staining of human osteoclasts in both fetal bone metaphyseal imprints and frozen sections. Osteoclasts and marrow mononuclear cells were stained by three broad spectrum antimacrophage antibodies, EBM-11, Y182a and BM2. T310, an antibody which stains macrophages and T helper cells, and C17, an antimegakaryocyte antibody, also stained osteoclasts. EBM-11, Y182a and BM2 also stained megakaryocytes in bone imprints as well as normal bone marrow smears. The presence of macrophage-associated antigens in osteoclasts, megakaryocytes and bone marrow mononuclear cells indicates that they are phenotypically similar to macrophages.

Original publication




Journal article


J pathol

Publication Date





239 - 246


Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antigens, Surface, Humans, Macrophages, Megakaryocytes, Osteoclasts