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J Biol Chem. 2006 Feb 3;281(5):2414-29. Epub 2005 Oct 25.

Inhibition of hormone and cytokine-stimulated osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption by interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 is associated with increased osteoprotegerin and decreased RANKL and RANK in a STAT6-dependent pathway.

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Departments of Oral Cell Biology and Periodontics, Umeå University, Umeå S-901 87, Sweden.


Interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 are cytokines that inhibit bone resorption. Data showing an inhibitory effect of IL-4 and IL-13 on RANK mRNA in mouse calvariae were first reported at the 22nd American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Meeting (Lerner, U.H., and Conaway, H. H. 2000) J. Bone Min. Res. 15, Suppl. 1, Abstr. SU 230). In the present study, release of 45Ca from cultured mouse calvarial bones stimulated by different cytokines, peptides, and steroid hormones was inhibited by IL-4 and IL-13. IL-4 and IL-13 decreased receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL) and RANK mRNA and increased osteoprotegerin (OPG) mRNA in calvariae. Additionally, the cytokines decreased RANKL protein and increased OPG protein in calvarial bones. In osteoblasts isolated from calvariae, both an increase in RANKL mRNA and a decrease in OPG mRNA and protein elicited by vitamin D3 were reversed by IL-4 and IL-13. IL-4 and IL-13 decreased the number of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase positive multinucleated cells and the mRNA expression of calcitonin receptor, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase, and cathepsin K in mouse spleen cells and bone marrow macrophages (BMM) treated with macrophage colony-stimulating factor and RANKL. Inhibition of mRNA for RANK and the transcription factor NFAT2 was also noted in spleen cell and BMM cultures treated with IL-4 and IL-13. In addition, RANK mRNA and RANK protein were decreased by IL-4 and IL-13 in RAW 264.7 cells. Osteoblasts, spleen cells, and BMM expressed mRNA for the four proteins making up the IL-4 and IL-13 receptors. No effects by IL-4 on bone resorption and osteoclast formation or on RANKL and RANK mRNA expression were seen in Stat6-/- mice. The data indicate that IL-4 and IL-13, via a STAT6-dependent pathway, inhibit osteoclast differentiation and bone resorption by activating receptors on osteoblasts and osteoclasts that affect the RANKL/RANK/OPG system.

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