Isolation, Purification, and Differentiation of Osteoclast Precursors from Rat Bone Marrow

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Osteoclasts are large, multinucleated, and bone-resorbing cells of the monocyte-macrophage lineage that are formed by the fusion of monocytes or macrophage precursors. Excessive bone resorption is one the most significant cellular mechanisms leading to osteolytic diseases, including osteoporosis, periodontitis, and periprosthetic osteolysis. The main physiological function of osteoclasts is to absorb both the hydroxyapatite mineral component and the organic matrix of bone, generating the characteristic resorption appearance on the surface of bones. There are relatively few osteoclasts compared to other cells in the body, especially in adult bones. Recent studies have focused on how to obtain more mature osteoclasts in less time, which has always been a problem. Several improvements in the isolation and culture techniques have developed in laboratories in order to obtain more mature osteoclasts. Here, we introduce a method that isolates bone marrow in less time and with less effort compared to the traditional procedure, using a special and simple device. With the use of density gradient centrifugation, we obtain large amounts of fully differentiated osteoclasts from rat bone marrow, which are identified by classical methods.