Stem cell factor (SCF) is a newly described hematopoietic growth factor that stimulates the growth of primitive hematopoietic progenitors and mast cells. Since the osteoclast precursor is hematopoietic in origin, we tested SCF for its capacity to stimulate the formation of osteoclast‐like multinucleated cells (MNC) in long‐term human marrow cultures. These MNC express an osteoclast phenotype and form resorption lacunae on calcified matrices. Addition of SCF alone (0.1 pg/ml to 100 ng/ml) to long‐term marrow cultures did not increase MNC formation. However, treatment of these cultures sequentially with SCF for 1 week followed by 1,25‐(OH)2D3 for the second and third weeks of culture significantly enhanced MNC formation. [3H]Thymidine incorporation studies showed that SCF increased the proliferation of MNC precursors. These data suggested that SCF was acting on early MNC precursors. We then tested the capacity of SCF to stimulate the formation of colonies of committed precursors for osteoclast‐like MNC. SCF (20 pg/ml to 20 ng/ml) enhanced osteoclast precursor formation in unfractionated bone marrow mononuclear cells but was unable to increase osteoclast precursor formation when a highly purified population of hematopoietic precursors was used as the target cells for SCF. These data suggest that SCF works in concert with other factors produced by nonhematopoietic marrow cells to increase the precursor pool for osteoclasts and that other factors, such as 1,25‐(OH)2D3, complete the differentiation process to the mature osteoclast.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine