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OBJECTIVE: An imbalance between bone formation and bone resorption is thought to underlie the pathogenesis of reduced bone mass in osteoporosis. Bone resorption is carried out by osteoclasts. which are formed from marrow-derived cells that circulate in the monocyte fraction. The aim of this study was to determine the role of osteoclast formation in the pathogenesis of bone loss in osteoporosis. METHODS: The proportion of circulating osteoclast precursors and their relative sensitivity to the osteoclastogenic effects of M-CSF. 1,25(OH)2D3 and RANKL were assessed in primary osteoporosis patients and normal controls. RESULTS: Although there was no difference in the number of circulating osteoclast precursors in osteoporosis patients and normal controls. osteoclasts formed from osteoporosis patients exhibited substantially increased resorptive activity relative to normal controls. Although no increased sensitivity to the osteoclastogenic effects of 1,25(OH)D3 or M-CSF was noted, increased bone resorption was found in osteoporosis peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) cultures to which these factors were added. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that osteoclast functional activity rather than formation is increased in primary involutional osteoporosis and that dexamethasone acts to increase osteoclast formation.

Original publication




Journal article


Scand j rheumatol

Publication Date





95 - 100


Aged, Biomarkers, Bone Resorption, Calcitriol, Carrier Proteins, Cells, Cultured, Coculture Techniques, Dexamethasone, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Female, Humans, Immunoenzyme Techniques, Leukocytes, Mononuclear, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Membrane Glycoproteins, Middle Aged, Osteoclasts, Osteoporosis, RANK Ligand, Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor-kappa B, Stem Cells