Direct and indirect radiation effects on osteoclast formation in vitro

B A Scheven, A M Wassenaar, E W Kawilarang-de Haas, P J Nijweide

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An in vitro co-culture system was applied to study the direct and indirect effects of irradiation on osteoclast formation. Osteoclast precursor-free fetal mouse metatarsal bones were employed as osteoclast-forming inductor and periostea dissected from fetal calvaria as source of proliferating progenitor cells. Direct radiation effects on the formation of osteoclasts were assessed in co-cultures of irradiated periostea and non-irradiated bone rudiments. The results showed that the (blood-borne) periosteal progenitors were rather radiosensitive. A radiation 'survival' curve of osteoclast formation in relation to various doses could be constructed yielding a mean lethal dose (Do value) of 0.94 +/- 0.02 Gy and an extrapolation number of 1.67 +/- 0.01. Irradiation of the fetal long bones by low doses, effective for direct elimination of osteoclast progenitor cells, did not indirectly affect osteoclast development from the non-irradiated periosteal progenitor population. However, at relatively high radiation levels, though not lethal for the long bone rudiments, a significant inhibition of osteoclast formation became evident. The results indicate that radiation primarily affects osteoclast formation via a direct action on radiosensitive, proliferating progenitor cells. Injury to long bone models by relatively high radiation doses may also lead to severe disturbance of osteoclast formation kinetics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-300
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1987


  • Tartrates
  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Osteoclasts
  • Acid Phosphatase
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Mice
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Stem Cells
  • Cell Survival


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