Identification, characterization, and isolation of a common progenitor for osteoclasts, macrophages, and dendritic cells from murine bone marrow and periphery



Osteoclasts are specialized bone-resorbing cells that derive from monocyte precursors. We have identified three populations of cells with high osteoclastogenic potential in murine bone marrow, which expressed the phenotype B220-CD3-CD11b−/low CD115+ and either CD117hi, CD117intermediate, or CD117low. We have evaluated these populations for their ability to also generate macrophages and dendritic cells. At a single-cell level, the population expressing higher CD117 levels was able to generate bone-resorbing osteoclasts, phagocytic macrophages, and antigen-presenting dendritic cells in vitro with efficiencies of more than 90%, indicating that there exists a common developmental pathway for these cell types. Cells with osteoclastogenic potential also exist in blood and peripheral hematopoietic organs. Their functional meaning and/or their relationship with bone marrow progenitors is not well established. Hence, we characterized murine peripheral cell populations for their ability to form osteoclasts, macrophages, and dendritic cells in vitro. The spleen and peripheral blood monocyte progenitors share phenotypic markers with bone marrow progenitors but differ in their expression of CD11b, which was low in bone marrow but high in periphery. We propose that circulating monocyte progenitors are derived from a common bone marrow osteoclasts/macrophage/dendritic cell progenitor (OcMDC), which we have now characterized at a clonal level. However, the lineage relationship between the bone marrow and peripheral monocyte progenitors has yet to be defined. © 2013 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.