Isolation and culture of osteoclasts and osteoclast resorption assays

  • Richard J. Murrills
  • David W. Dempster
  • Timothy R. Arnett


The central role that bone resorption plays in the pathogenesis of human disorders such as osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Paget’s disease, hypercalcaemia of malignancy and osteopetrosis has long prompted the scientific community to inquire into the biology of the osteoclast. Over time, the investigative tools have changed. In recent years, the advances seen first in in vitro organ culture of bone, then in the isolation, purification and culture of selected cell types and ultimately in the molecular biology of osteoclasts have led to a rapidly improving understanding of the molecular engines comprising the osteoclast and its interactions with neighbouring and distant cell types. This chapter will begin by outlining the techniques that have been developed for isolating and purifying osteoclasts before concentrating on the technique with which we have most of our personal experience, the assay of bone resorption using isolated osteoclasts on bone slices, and finally closing with a summary of the advances that have been possible using these techniques. Our definition of an osteoclast is based upon function, namely that the ability to resorb a pit under conducive conditions is an essential requirement.


Giant Cell Tumour Osteoclast Precursor Mineral Research Mature Osteoclast Resorption Lacuna 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Murrills
  • David W. Dempster
  • Timothy R. Arnett

There are no affiliations available

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