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Blood. 2003 Mar 15;101(6):2227-34. Epub 2002 Oct 31.

Regulation of osteoclast development by Notch signaling directed to osteoclast precursors and through stromal cells.

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  • 1Division of Immunology, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, School of Life Science, Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University, Yonago, Tottori, Japan.


Osteoclasts are derived from hematopoietic precursor cells belonging to the monocyte/macrophage lineage. Osteoclast development has been reported to be regulated by several molecules such as macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), receptor activator of nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB ligand (RANKL), and a decoy receptor of RANKL, osteoprotegerin (OPG). Recently, it was demonstrated that the Notch signaling pathway regulates myeloid differentiation and antagonizes cell fate determination, however, the effect of Notch signaling on the osteoclast lineage has not been reported. In this study, we examined the effect of signaling via Notch receptors on the differentiation into osteoclasts by using cells from the bone marrow, spleen, and peritoneal cavity, and a cloned macrophagelike cell line. Osteoclastogenesis was inhibited by an immobilized Notch ligand, Delta-1. The dish-adherent bone marrow cells precultured with M-CSF expressed both Mac-1 and M-CSF receptors, c-Fms; osteoclastogenesis of these cells was efficiently inhibited. The immobilized Delta-1 also down-regulated the surface c-Fms expression, while the c-Fms gene expression was not changed. Genes for Notch receptors and Notch ligands are expressed in not only hematopoietic cells but also stromal cells that support osteoclast development. Constitutively active Notch1-transfected stromal cells showed increased expression of RANKL and OPG genes, and strong inhibition of M-CSF gene expression, resulting in reduction of their ability to support osteoclast development. Taken together, these findings indicate that Notch signaling affects both osteoclast precursors and stromal cells and thereby negatively regulates osteoclastogenesis.

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