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J Biol Chem. 2005 Aug 19;280(33):29929-36. Epub 2005 Jun 13.

mu-Calpain regulates receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL)-supported osteoclastogenesis via NF-kappaB activation in RAW 264.7 cells.

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Center for Orthopaedic Research, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


To clarify the role of calpain in the receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL)-supported osteoclastogenesis, RANKL-induced calpain activation was examined by using murine RAW 264.7 cells and bone marrow-derived monocyte/macrophage progenitors. We found that calpain activity increased in response to RANKL in both cell types based on alpha-spectrinolysis and that mu-calpain, rather than m-calpain, was activated during RANKL-supported osteoclastogenesis in RAW 264.7 cells. Overexpression of mu-calpain clearly augmented RANKL-supported osteoclastogenesis in RAW 264.7 cells, thereby implicating its pivotal role in this process. Cell-permeable calpain inhibitors, including calpastatin and calpeptin, were sufficient to suppress RANKL-supported osteoclastogenesis based on decreased expression of the osteoclastogenic marker, matrix metalloproteinase 9, and the generation of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-positive multinucleated cells in both cell types. Calpain inhibitors suppressed NF-kappaB activation via inhibition of the cleavage of inhibitor of NF-kappaB(IkappaBalpha)in RAW 264.7 cells. Taken together, our findings suggest that mu-calpain is essential to the regulation of RANKL-supported osteoclastogenesis via NF-kappaB activation.

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