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Eur J Immunol. 2005 Nov;35(11):3353-63.

IFN-gamma-producing human T cells directly induce osteoclastogenesis from human monocytes via the expression of RANKL.

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Institute of Rheumatology, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.


The current study explored our hypothesis that IFN-gamma-producing human T cells inhibit human osteoclast formation. Activated T cells derived from human PBMC were divided into IFN-gamma-producing T cells (IFN-gamma(+) T cells) and IFN-gamma-non-producing T cells (IFN-gamma(-) T cells). IFN-gamma(+) T cells were cultured with human monocytes in the presence of macrophage-CSF alone. The concentration of soluble receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL) and IFN-gamma, and the amount of membrane type RANKL expressed on T cells, were measured by ELISA. In the patients with early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs alone, CD4+ T cells expressing both IFN-gamma and RANKL were detected by flow cytometry. Surprisingly, IFN-gamma(+) T cells, but not IFN-gamma(-) T cells, induced osteoclastogenesis from monocytes, which was completely inhibited by adding osteoprotegerin and increased by adding anti-IFN-gamma antibodies. The levels of both soluble and membrane type RANKL were elevated in IFN-gamma(+) T cells. The ratio of CD4+ T cells expressing both IFN-gamma and RANKL in total CD4+ T cells from PBMC was elevated in RA patients. Contrary to our hypothesis, IFN-gamma(+) human T cells induced osteoclastogenesis through the expression of RANKL, suggesting that Th1 cells play a direct role in bone resorption in Th1 dominant diseases such as RA.

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