Introduction Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs) have been extensively used as a culture model to generate osteoclasts in vitro. The aim of this study was to assess the osteoclastogenic potential of PBMCs derived from post-menopausal women with longstanding osteoporosis and compare this with PBMCs from healthy controls. Material and methods We selected from the population-based Rotterdam Study 82 participants of which 43 were diagnosed with osteoporosis (T-score below − 2.5 at the lumbar spine) and the presence of at least 1 fracture and 29 healthy controls (T-score above 1; no fracture). PBMCs were differentiated into osteoclasts, and both differentiation capacity and activity were measured. Total RNA was obtained to assess gene expression of osteoclast markers. Deoxypyridinoline (DPD) was measured in plasma as a marker for bone resorption, in vivo. Results Neither the number of osteoclasts nor cathepsin K (CTSK) and dendritic cell-specific transmembrane protein (TM7SF4) gene expression was significantly different between both groups. There was also no significant difference in resorption pit area and plasma DPD levels. Stratification by fracture type into a group with vertebral, non-vertebral and both vertebral and non-vertebral fractures showed no difference in osteoclast formation or osteoclastic bone resorption. However, plasma DPD, but not the RNA expression markers, was significantly lower in the group of subjects with vertebral fracture group and those with vertebral and non-vertebral fractures compared to the healthy controls. No differences in osteoclastogenesis, osteoclastic resorption and plasma DPD levels were detected also after exclusion of past or present users of bisphosphonates and glucocorticoids. Stratification into high and low DPD levels showed higher osteoclastogenesis and more osteoclastic bone resorption in the high DPD group compared to the low DPD levels within the group of osteoporotic subjects. Conclusion This study showed no difference in PBMC osteoclastogenic capacity and activity between women with and without osteoporosis and at least one previous fracture, who were on average 29.5 years after menopause, suggesting that there is no difference in circulating osteoclast precursors. Although we cannot exclude that circulating precursors may behave differently at the bone site, it is possible that long after menopause a more stable phase of bone turnover is reached compared to earlier after the start of menopause in which differences in circulating osteoclast precursors and osteoclastogenic potential are more prominent.

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Department of Internal Medicine

Koek, N., van der Eerden, B., Alves, R., van Driel, M., Schreuders-Koedam, M., Zillikens, C., & van Leeuwen, H. (2017). Osteoclastogenic capacity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells is not different between women with and without osteoporosis. Bone, 95, 108–114. doi:10.1016/j.bone.2016.11.010