The osteoclast, the multinucleated giant cell of bone, is derived from circulating blood cells, most likely monocytes. Evidence has accrued that is consistent with the hypothesis that the recruitment of monocytes for osteoclast development occurs by chemotaxis. In the present study, we have examined the chemotactic response of human peripheral blood monocytes and related polymorphonuclear leucocytes to three constituents of bone matrix: peptides from Type I collagen, alpha 2-HS glycoprotein, and osteocalcin (bone gla protein). The latter two substances are among the major noncollagenous proteins of bone and are uniquely associated with calcified connective tissue. In chemotaxis assays using modified Boyden chambers, Type I collagen peptides, alpha 2HS glycoprotein, and osteocalcin evoke a dose-dependent chemotactic response in human monocytes. No chemotaxis is observed on PMNs despite their ontogenetic relationship to monocytes and their documented sensitivity to a broad range of other chemical substances. Our observations are consistent with the view that osteoclast precursors (monocytes) are mobilized by chemotaxis, and suggest that the chemoattractants responsible for this activity are derived from the bone matrix or, in the case of collagen and osteocalcin; directly from the osteoblasts which produce them.

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