CpG oligonucleotides: Novel regulators of osteoclast differentiation

W. E.I. Zou, Harry Schwartz, Stefan Endres, Gunther Hartmann, Z. V.I. Bar-Shavit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The macrophage capability to recognize bacterial DNA is mimicked by oligodeoxynucleotides containing unmethylated CG dinucleotides ('CpG' motifs) in specific sequence contexts (CpG ODN). CpG ODN stimulates NF-κB activation in murine macrophages. In light of the pivotal role played by NF-κB in osteoclast differentiation, we examined the ability of CpG ODN to modulate osteoclastogenesis. CpG ODN alone induced TRAP-positive cells in bone marrow macrophage (BMM) cultures, but not multinucleation or calcitonin receptor expression. CpG ODN inhibited RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis when present from the beginning of BMM culture, but strongly increased RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis in RANKL-pre-treated BMMs. CpG ODN enhanced the expression of interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α). Antibodies to TNF-α and the TNF type 1 receptor, but not the addition of IL-1 receptor antagonist, blocked CpG ODN-induced osteoclastogenesis in RANKL-pretreated cultures. On the other hand, CpG ODN reduced expression of the M-CSF receptor, which is critical during the initiation of osteoclast differentiation. These results suggest that CpG ODN, via the induction of TNF-α, support osteoclastogenesis in cells that are committed to the osteoclast differentiation pathway but, due to down-modulation of M-CSF receptor, inhibit early steps of osteoclast differentiation. Thus, CpG ODN represents a potential therapeutic tool for treating bone diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-282
Number of pages9
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Bone
  • Immunostimulatory oligodexynucleotide
  • M-CSF
  • TNF-α


Dive into the research topics of 'CpG oligonucleotides: Novel regulators of osteoclast differentiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this