TNF receptor type 1 regulates RANK ligand expression by stromal cells and modulates osteoclastogenesis

Yousef Abu-Amer, Sabiha Abbas, Teruhisa Hirayama

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23 Scopus citations


TNFα is a major osteoclastogenic cytokine and a primary mediator of inflammatory osteoclastogenesis. We have previously shown that this cytokine directly targets osteoclasts and their precursors and that deletion of its type-1 receptor (TNFr1) lessens osteoclastogenesis and impacts RANK signaling molecules. Osteoclastogenesis is primarily a RANK/RANKL-dependent event and occurs in an environment governed by both hematopoietic and mesenchymal compartments. Thus, we reasoned that TNF/TNFr1 may regulate RANKL and possibly RANK expression by stromal cells and osteoclast precursors (OCPs), respectively. RT-PCR experiments reveal that levels of RANKL mRNA in WT stromal cells are increased following treatment with 1,25-VD3 compared to low levels in TNFr1-null cells. Expression levels of OPG, the RANKL decoy protein, were largely unchanged, thus supporting a RANKL/OPG positive ratio favoring WT cells. RANK protein expression by OCPs was lower in TNFr1-null cells despite only subtle differences in mRNA expression in both cell types. Mix and match experiments of different cell populations from the two mice phenotypes show that WT stromal cells significantly, but not entirely, restore osteoclastogenesis by TNFr1-null OCPs. Similar results were obtained when the latter cells were cultured in the presence of exogenous RANKL. Altogether, these findings indicate that in the absence of TNFr1 both cell compartments are impaired. This was further confirmed by gain of function experiments using TNFr1-null cultures of both cell types at which exogenous TNFr1 cDNA was virally expressed. Thus, restoration of TNFr1 expression in OCPs and stromal cells was sufficient to reinstate osteoclastogenesis and provides direct evidence that TNFr1 integrity is required for optimal RANK-mediated osteoclastogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-989
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2004


  • Osteoclast
  • Stromal cells
  • TNF receptor


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