Localization of cathepsins B, D, and L in the rat osteoclast by immuno-light and -electron microscopy

T. Goto, T. Tanaka, T. Kiyoshima, R. Moroi, T. Tsukuba, K. Yamamoto, Y. Nishimura, M. Himeno

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The localization of cathepsins B, D, and L was studied in rat osteoclasts by immuno-light and-electron microscopy using the avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex (ABC) method. In cryosections prepared for light microscopy, immunoreactivity for cathepsin D was found in numerous vesicles and vacuoles but was not detected along the resorption lacunae of osteoclasts. However, immunoreactivity for cathepsins B and L occurred strongly along the lacunae, and only weak intracellular immunoreactivity was observed in the vesicles and peripheral part of the vacuoles near the ruffled border. In control sections that were not incubated with the antibody, no cathepsins were found in the osteoclasts or along the resorption lacunae of osteoclasts. At the electron microscopic level, strong intracellular reactivity of cathepsin D was found in numerous vacuoles and vesicles, while extracellular cathepsin D was only slightly detected at the base of the ruffled border but was not found in the eroded bone matrix. Most osteoclasts showed strong extracellular deposition of cathepsins B and L on the collagen fibrils and bone matrix under the ruffled border. The extracellular deposition was stronger for cathepsin L than for cathepsin B. Furthermore cathepsins B and L immunolabled some pits and part of the ampullar extracellular spaces, appearing as vacuoles in the sections. Conversely, the intracellular reactivity for cathepsins B and L was weak: cathepsin-containing vesicles and vacuoles as primary and secondary lysosomes occurred only sparsely. These findings suggest that cathepsins B and L, unlike cathepsin D, are rapidly released into the extracellular matrix and participate in the degradation of organic bone matrix containing collagen fibrils near the tip of the ruffled border. Cathepsin L may be more effective in the degradation of bone matrix than cathepsin B.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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