Zoledronic acid inhibits macrophage SOCS3 expression and enhances cytokine production

Erica L. Scheller, Kurt D. Hankenson, Jayne S. Reuben, Paul H. Krebsbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS3) has multiple functions including inhibition of Janus kinase (Jak) activity, regulation of protein degradation, and suppression of cytokine signaling. SOCS3 modulates macrophage response to cytokines such as IL-6 and leptin that are systemically induced in obesity. Obesity is a suspected risk factor for SOCS3-related pathology such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease as well as zoledronic acid (ZA)-induced osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Thus, understanding the ability of bisphosphonates to modulate SOCS3 is necessary to qualify their contribution to these disorders. ONJ occurs in up to 10% of patients using intravenous bisphosphonates and has an unknown pathogenesis that may be linked to decreased bone turnover, altered vascularity, bacterial invasion, and compromised wound healing. Given the increased risk of ONJ with obesity and importance of macrophages in wound healing, we hypothesized that amino-bisphosphonates could contribute to the pathogenesis of ONJ by regulating macrophage responses to cytokines such as leptin and IL-6. We report that ZA is a novel inhibitor of SOCS3 in primary macrophages and human ONJ biopsy specimens. Inhibition of SOCS3 by ZA resulted in significant increases in IL-6 production. SOCS3 transcription is regulated by nuclear accumulation of phosphorylated-Stat3 (P-Stat3). We found that ZA decreased phosphorylation of Stat3 in a mevalonate-pathway dependent manner. However, restoration of P-Stat3 was not sufficient to correct SOCS3 inhibition. We propose that disruption of macrophage SOCS3 expression by amino-bisphosphonates such as ZA may be a novel contributor to inflammatory phenotypes in obesity and the pathogenesis of ONJ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3364-3372
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • SOCS3


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