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Identification of osteocytes in osteoblast-like cell cultures using a monoclonal antibody specifically directed against osteocytes

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The development of a monoclonal antibody, OB 7.3, directed against a cell surface antigenic site on osteocytes is described.

Osteoblast-like cells were enzymatically isolated from calvaria of chicken embryos after removal of the periostea. The cells were cultured for 6 days, harvested and used to immunize mice. One of the monoclonal antibodies obtained, OB 7.3, reacted specifically with the cell surface of osteocytes. In frozen sections of bone only osteocytes were stained, all other cells present, including mature osteoblasts, were negative. Liver, kidney, spleen, intestine, bloodvessel and skin were also completely negative. Using the monoclonal OB 7.3, positive cells could be demonstrated in sparse osteoblast-like cell cultures. The OB 7.3 positive cells had a stellate morphology and were therefore identified as osteocytes. They behaved in culture as osteocytes in bone tissue in that they formed a network of cell processes connecting osteocytes with each other or with other neighbouring cells. Monoclonal OB 7.3 offers the possibility of isolating osteocytes thereby providing the means for a detailed study of their biochemical properties.

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In honour of Prof. P. van Duijn

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Nijweide, P.J., Mulder, R.J.P. Identification of osteocytes in osteoblast-like cell cultures using a monoclonal antibody specifically directed against osteocytes. Histochemistry 84, 342–347 (1986).

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