, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 519-529
Date: 20 May 2009

Osteoclasts and the immune system

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Abstract

Investigation into arthritis as well as the numerous bone phenotypes found in mice lacking immune-related genes has highlighted the importance of the dynamic interplay between the bone and immune systems. It has recently led to both the emergence and subsequent rapid evolution of the field of osteoimmunology. Receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) stimulates osteoclastogenesis through the nuclear factor of activated T cells, cytoplasmic 1 (NFATc1), which is well known as a crucial regulator of immunity. Studies on RANKL signaling revealed various immune-related genes which are involved in the regulation of osteoclastogenesis. Bone destruction in rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the enhanced activity of osteoclasts resulting from the activation of T cells. Here we describe our efforts to address the challenging question as to how abnormal T-cell activation mechanistically induces bone destruction. The scope of osteoimmunology has been extended to encompass a wide range of molecular and cellular interactions, the elucidation of which will provide a scientific basis for future therapeutic approaches to diseases related to both the bone and immune systems.