|Classification and external resources|
Osteoclast, displaying many nuclei within its "foamy" cytoplasm, above a bone's surface
The osteoclasts are multi-nucleated cells that contain numerous mitochondria and lysosomes. These are the cells responsible for the resorption of bone. Osteoclasts are generally present on the outer layer of bone, just beneath the periosteum. Attachment of the osteoclast to the osteon begins the process. The osteoclast then induces an infolding of its cell membrane and secretes collagenase and other enzymes important in the resorption process. High levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphate and products of collagen will be released into the extracellular fluid as the osteoclasts tunnel into the mineralized bone. Osteoclasts are also prominent in the tissue destruction commonly found in psoriatic arthritis and other rheumatology related disorders.
Bone resorption can also be the result of disuse and the lack of stimulus for bone maintenance. Astronauts, for instance will undergo a certain amount of bone resorption due to the lack of gravity providing the proper stimulus for bone maintenance.
During childhood, bone formation exceeds resorption, but as the aging process occurs, resorption exceeds formation.
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Bone resorption is highly constructable stimulated or inhibited by signals from other parts of the body, depending on the demand for calcium.
Calcium-sensing membrane receptors in the parathyroid gland monitor calcium levels in the extracellular fluid. Low levels of calcium stimulates the release of parathyroid hormone (PTH) from chief cells of the parathyroid gland. In addition to its effects on kidney and intestine, PTH also increases the number and activity of osteoclasts to draw calcium from bone, and thus stimulates bone resorption.
High levels of calcium in the blood, on the other hand, leads to decreased PTH release from the parathyroid gland, decreasing the number and activity of osteoclasts, resulting in less bone resorption.
In some cases where bone resorption becomes accelerated, the bone is broken down much faster than it can be renewed. The bone becomes more porous and fragile, exposing people to the risk of fractures. Depending on where in the body bone resorption occurs, additional problems like tooth loss can also arise. Some people who experience bone resorption are astronauts. Due to the condition of being in a zero-gravity environment, astronauts do not need to work their musculoskeletal system as hard as those in a typical environment. The body responds with bone resorption, causing a loss in bone density.