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Abstract

Resorption and migration phases alternate in the life of the osteoclast. We have previously described a specific microfilament structure at the attachment sites in resorbing osteoclasts. In the present study we have examined microfilaments and microtubules in both resorbing and migrating rat osteoclasts cultured on bone slices. In migrating osteoclasts microfilaments form so-called podosome structures containing vinculin, talin, and F-actin at the paramarginal area of the cell. When the osteoclast prepares itself for resorption, the podosomes gather to a certain area and form a broad ring around the area, which is then resorbed. In the resorbing osteoclast, vinculin and talin form a continuous double circle, which may be partially formed by podosomes, and between these double circles a broad zone is formed by F-actin. Narrow vinculin and Factin rings were found in osteoclasts at the end of the resorption phase. The different configurations of microfilaments in 1 and 2 day cultures were correlated in terms of their relationship to the resorption lacunae. The vitamin A derivative isotretinoin significantly stimulated resorption and increased the number of microfilament configurations associated with the resorption pits. On the other hand, Bt2cAMP abolished resorption and prevented the formation of a specific ring structure of microfilaments. Based on these data, a kinetic model of the whole migration-resorption cycle of the osteoclast cultured on the bone slice is presented. With α-tubulin stainings of microtubules two different cytoskeletal organizations were observed. In migrating osteoclasts, microtubules were evenly distributed over the whole cell. In the resorbing osteoclast, there was a noticeable concentration of these cytoskeletal structures at cytoplasmic sites closest to the resorption lacuna. This orientation of microtubules may reflect the active secretory function of the resorbing osteoclast.