TNF-induced receptor activator NF-κB ligand (RANKL) synthesis by bone marrow stromal cells is a fundamental component of inflammatory osteolysis. We found that this process was abolished by IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) or in stromal cells derived from type I IL-1 receptor–deficient (IL-1RI–deficient) mice. Reflecting sequential signaling of the cytokines TNF and IL-1, TNF induces stromal cell expression of IL-1 and IL-1RI. These data suggest that TNF regulates RANKL expression via IL-1, and, therefore, IL-1 plays a role in TNF-induced periarticular osteolysis. Consistent with this posture, TNF-stimulated osteoclastogenesis in cultures consisting of WT marrow macrophages and stromal cells exposed to IL-1Ra or in cocultures established with IL-1RI–deficient stromal cells was reduced approximately 50%. The same magnitude of osteoclast inhibition occurred in IL-1RI–deficient mice following TNF administration in vivo. Like TNF, IL-1 directly targeted osteoclast precursors and promoted the osteoclast phenotype in a TNF-independent manner in the presence of permissive levels of RANKL. IL-1 is able to induce RANKL expression by stromal cells and directly stimulate osteoclast precursor differentiation under the aegis of p38 MAPK. Thus, IL-1 mediates the osteoclastogenic effect of TNF by enhancing stromal cell expression of RANKL and directly stimulating differentiation of osteoclast precursors.


Shi Wei, Hideki Kitaura, Ping Zhou, F. Patrick Ross, Steven L. Teitelbaum


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