Osteoclast Formation within a Human Co-Culture System on Bone Material as an In Vitro Model for Bone Remodeling Processes
Bone remodeling can be mimicked in vitro by co-culture models. Based on bone cells, such co-cultures help to study synergistic morphological changes and the impact of materials and applied substances. Hence, we examined the formation of osteoclasts on bovine bone materials to prove the bone resorption functionality of the osteoclasts in three different co-culture set-ups using human monocytes (hMCs) and (I) human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), (II) osteogenic differentiated hMSCs (hOBs), and (III) hOBs in addition of soluble monocyte-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF) and cytokine receptor activator of NFkB ligand (RANKL). We detected osteoclast-specific actin morphology, as well as the expression of cathepsin K and CD51/61 in single cells in set-up II and in numerous cells in set-up III. Resorption pits on bone material as characteristic proof of functional osteoclasts were not found in set-up I and II, but we detected such resorption pits in set-up III. We conclude in co-culture models without M-CSF and RANKL that monocytes can differentiate into osteoclasts that show the characteristic actin structures and protein expression. However, to receive functional bone resorbing osteoclasts in vitro, the addition of M-CSF and RANKL is needed. Moreover, we suggest the use of bone or bone-like materials for future studies evaluating osteoclastogenesis.