Bone resorption, characterized by the solubilization of both the mineral and the organic components of the osseous matrix, was obtained in tissue culture under the action of parathyroid hormone (PTH). It was accompanied by the excretion of six lysosomal acid hydrolases, which was in good correlation with the progress of the resorption evaluated by the release of phosphate, calcium 45 or hydroxyproline from the explants; there was no increased excretion of two nonlysosomal enzymes, alkaline phosphatase, and catalase. Balance studies and experiments with inhibitors of protein synthesis indicated that the intracellular stores of the acid hydrolases excreted were maintained by new synthesis. The release was not due to a direct disruption of the lysosomal membrane by PTH; it is presumed to result from an exocytosis of the whole lysosomal content and to involve mechanisms similar to those controlling the secretion of this content into digestive vacuoles.

The resorbing explants acidified their culture fluids at a faster rate and released more lactate and citrate than the controls; this release was in good correlation, in the PTH-treated cultures, with the resorption of the bone mineral, but the amount of citrate released was considerably smaller than that of lactate. The acid released could account for the resorption of the mineral.

It is proposed, as a working hypothesis, that the acid hydrolases of the lysosomes are active in the resorption of the organic matrix of bone and that acid, originating possibly from the stimulation of glycolysis, cares for the concomitant solubilization of bone mineral while also favoring the hydrolytic action of the lysosomal enzymes.

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