Osteoporosis is characterized by enhanced activity of osteoclasts relative to that of osteoblasts. Thus, the principal means of treating the most common form of osteoporosis, namely that attending menopause, is inhibition of osteoclast formation or function. We have demonstrated that the inflammatory cytokine, IL-17, mediates estrogen-deficient osteoporosis, in mice, and that genetic blockade of its function prevents ovariectomy-induced bone loss. We herein report that the febrifugine derivative, halofuginone, a small molecule drug, reduces abundance of Th-17 cells in mice and prevents estrogen-deficient osteoporosis by diminishing bone resorption without impacting osteogenesis. In keeping with IL-17 mediating its osteoclastogenic effects by promoting RANK ligand expression by osteoblasts, halofuginone does not directly inhibit the bone resorptive cell. Thus, halofuginone, which is presently FDA-approved for treatment of scleroderma, is a candidate therapeutic for post-menopausal osteoporosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3086-3092
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Osteoporosis
  • estrogen
  • halofuginone
  • osteoclast


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