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Bone-degrading osteoclasts are formed through fusion of their monocytic precursors. In the population of human peripheral blood monocytes, three distinct subsets have been identified: classical, intermediate and non-classical monocytes. We have previously shown that when the monocyte subsets are cultured on bone, significantly more osteoclasts are formed from classical monocytes than from intermediate or non-classical monocytes. Considering that this difference does not exist when monocyte subsets are cultured on plastic, we hypothesized that classical monocytes adhere better to the bone surface compared to intermediate and non-classical monocytes. To investigate this, the different monocyte subsets were isolated from human peripheral blood and cultured on slices of human bone in the presence of the cytokine M-CSF. We found that classical monocytes adhere better to bone due to a higher expression of the integrin αMβ2 and that their ability to attach to bone is significantly decreased when the integrin is blocked. This suggests that integrin αMβ2 mediates attachment of osteoclast precursors to bone and thereby enables the formation of osteoclasts.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp cell res

Publication Date





161 - 168


Cell adhesion to bone, Integrin αMβ2, Monocytes, Osteoclast precursors, Bone Resorption, Bone and Bones, Cell Adhesion, Cell Differentiation, Cells, Cultured, Humans, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Macrophage-1 Antigen, Monocytes, Osteoclasts