An osteoclast (from the Greek words for "bone" (Οστό) and "broken" (κλαστός)) is a type of bone cell that removes bone tissue by removing its mineralized matrix and breaking up the organic bone (organic dry weight is 90% collagen). This process is known as bone resorption. Osteoclasts were discovered by Kolliker in 1873. Osteoclasts and osteoblasts are instrumental in controlling the amount of bone tissue: osteoblasts form bone, osteoclasts resorb bone. Osteoclasts are formed by the fusion of cells of the monocyte-macrophage cell line. Osteoclasts are characterized by high expression of tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) and cathepsin K.
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