Abstract The secretion mechanisms of cathepsin L from osteoclasts in the process of bone resorption were investigated. The increases in bone pit numbers formed take place by PTH addition in parallel with the increases of cathepsin L and/or L-like proteinase activities in the culture medium of bone cells, and these were suppressed by the addition ofcalcitonin. The Z-Phe-Arg-MCA hydrolysing activity increased in the medium through the effect of PTH is considered to be a kind of procathepsin L by Western blotting analysis, and was suppressed by calcitonin addition. Furthermore, monensin inhibited not only the PTH-induced pit formation, but also cysteine proteinase activity in osteoclasts. Therefore, the procathepsin L excreted might be transferred from endothelial reticulum via Golgi and/or via lysosomes.