Osteoclasts are the only cells that can resorb bone matrix physiologically and maintain the bone content. Osteoclasts are derived from macrophage/monocyte lineage cells; stimulation by macrophage colony stimulating factor and receptor activator of NFκB ligand induces osteoclastogenesis. During osteoclastogenesis, preosteoclasts fuse to form multinuclear mature osteoclasts. Cellular fusion is a unique phenomenon and enables fertilization, myotube formation, and efficient bone resorption in vertebrates. To date, several molecules have been reported to be fusion related in osteoclasts, namely CD44, CD47, ADAM12, MCP-1, and CD9, although the molecules which regulate osteoclast cellular fusion remain unclear. Here, we show that the seven-transmembrane- region receptor dendritic cell-specific transmembrane protein (DC-STAMP) is required for cell-cell fusion of osteoclasts and foreign body giant cells.
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