Mechanical stimulation of osteoclasts

Gerd Huber, Gabriela Mielke, Thomas Winkler


Histological staining
(TRAP) of osteoclasts

4-point-bending setup for
the loading of dentin carriers

Surface analysis of absorbed
dentin carriers with focus

The continuous remodeling of the skeletal system carried out by bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) and bone-resorbing cells (osteoclasts) ensures that the human body can adapt to new loading situation and that weak points in the bony system can be eliminated. A perturbation of the equilibrium state between osteoblasts and osteoclasts leads to pathological changes within the bone. The most common occurrence of such a disrupted balance is osteoporosis, where bone resorption has become predominant. Osteoporosis is a systematic skeletal disease, accompanied by a great loss in bone density and hence tremendously increasing the risk of bone fractures.
Key question in the treatment of osteoporosis is to limit or preferably reverse to process of bone resorption. Besides drug therapy, appropriate loading of the bone via gravitational forces or muscle activity plays an important role.
In order to monitor the influence of mechanical stimulation of osteoclast independently from other factors, in vitro testing is carried out. Osteoclasts are cultivated on dentin. A bioreactor, allowing to apply two-sided 4-point-bending upon the seeded dentin carriers, has been built and brought into service. This test setup is supposed to quantify the influence of a well-defined physiological, local strain upon the differentiation and resorption behavior of osteoclasts. 

This project was funded by Elsbeth Bonhoff Stiftung.



Winkler, T., Hoenig, E., Gildenhaar, R., Berger, G., Fritsch, D., Janssen, R., Morlock, M.M., Schilling, A.F. Volumetric analysis of osteoclastic bioresorption of calcium phosphate ceramics with different solubilities Acta Biomater. 2010 Oct;6(10):4127-35. Epub 2010 May 7

Winkler, T., Hoenig, E., Huber, G., Janssen, R., Fritsch, D., Gildenhaar, R., Berger, G., Morlock, M.M., Schilling, A.F. Osteoclastic bioresorption of biomaterials: Two- and three-dimensional imaging and quantification Int J Artif Organs. 2010 Apr;33(4):198-203