Send to

Choose Destination
Bone. 1999 Jul;25(1):109-13.

A novel molecular mechanism modulating osteoclast differentiation and function.

Author information

Research Institute of Life Science, Snow Brand Milk Products Co. Ltd., Tochigi, Japan.


Osteoclasts, the multinucleated giant cells that resorb bone, develop from hematopoietic cells of the monocyte/ macrophage lineage. Osteoblasts, as well as bone marrow stromal cells, support osteoclast development through a mechanism of cell-to-cell interaction with osteoclast progenitors. We recently purified and molecularly cloned osteoclastogenesis inhibitory factor (OCIF), which was identical to osteoprotegerin (OPG). OPG/OCIF, a secreted member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor family, inhibited differentiation and activation of osteoclasts. A single class of high-affinity binding sites for OPG/OCIF appeared on a mouse bone marrow stromal cell line, ST2, in response to 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] and dexamethasone (Dex). When the binding sites were occupied by OPG/OCIF, ST2 cells failed to support the osteoclast formation from spleen cells. To identify an OPG/OCIF ligand, we screened a cDNA expression library of ST2 cells treated with 1,25(OH)2D3 and Dex using OPG/OCIF as a probe. The cloned molecule was found to be a member of the membrane-associated TNF ligand family, and it induced osteoclast formation from mouse and human osteoclast progenitors in the presence of macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) in vitro. Expression of its gene in osteoblasts/stromal cells was up-regulated by osteotropic factors, such as 1,25(OH)2D3, prostaglandin E2 (P(GE2), parathyroid hormone (PTH), and interleukin (IL)-11. A polyclonal antibody against this protein, as well as OPG/OCIF, negated not only the osteoclastogenesis induced by the protein, but also bone resorption elicited by various osteotropic factors in a fetal mouse long bone culture system. These findings led us to conclude that the protein is osteoclast differentiation factor (ODF), a long sought-after ligand that mediates an essential signal to osteoclast progenitors for their differentiation into active osteoclasts. Recent analyses of ODF receptor demonstrated that RANK, a member of the TNF receptor family, is the signaling receptor for ODF in osteoclastogenesis, and that OPG/OCIF acts as a decoy receptor for ODF to compete against RANK. The discovery of ODF, OPG/OCIF, and RANK opens a new era in the investigation of the regulation of osteoclast differentiation and function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center