Estrogen-deficient osteoporosis may be an inflammatory disorder and we therefore asked if IL-17 participates in its pathogenesis. Deletion of the principal IL-17 receptor (IL-17RA) protects mice from ovariectomy (OVX)-induced bone loss. Further supporting a central role of IL-17 in its pathogenesis, OVX-induced osteoporosis is prevented by a blocking antibody targeting the cytokine. IL-17 promotes osteoclastogenesis by stimulating RANK ligand (RANKL) expression by osteoblastic cells, mediated by the IL-17RA SEFIR/TILL domain. Estrogen deprivation, however does not enhance IL-17RA mRNA expression by osteoblasts or in bone, but augments that of Act1, an IL-17RA-interacting protein and signaling mediator. Similar to IL-17RA-/- mice, those lacking Act1 are protected from OVX-induced bone loss. Also mirroring IL-17RA-deficiency, absence of Act1 in osteoblasts, but not osteoclasts, impairs osteoclastogenesis via dampened RANKL expression. Transduction of WT Act1 into Act1-/- osteoblasts substantially rescues their osteoclastogenic capacity. The same construct, however, lacking its E3 ligase U-box or its SEFIR domain, which interacts with its counterpart in IL-17RA, fails to do so. Estrogen deprivation, therefore, promotes RANKL expression and bone resorption in association with upregualtion of the IL-17 effector, Act1, supporting the concept that post-menopausal osteoporosis is a disorder of innate immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2895-2902
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Interleukin 17
  • cytokines
  • osteoclast/Osteoblast biology
  • osteoporosis


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