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J Biol Chem. 2006 Apr 7;281(14):9745-54. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

Calpain is required for normal osteoclast function and is down-regulated by calcitonin.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8044, USA.


Osteoclast motility is thought to depend on rapid podosome assembly and disassembly. Both mu-calpain and m-calpain, which promote the formation and disassembly of focal adhesions, were observed in the podosome belt of osteoclasts. Calpain inhibitors disrupted the podosome belt, blocked the constitutive cleavage of the calpain substrates filamin A, talin, and Pyk2, which are enriched in the podosome belt, induced osteoclast retraction, and reduced osteoclast motility and bone resorption. The motility and resorbing activity of mu-calpain(-/-) osteoclast-like cells were also reduced, indicating that mu-calpain is required for normal osteoclast activity. Histomorphometric analysis of tibias from mu-calpain(-/-) mice revealed increased osteoclast numbers and decreased trabecular bone volume that was apparent at 10 weeks but not at 5 weeks of age. In vitro studies suggested that the increased osteoclast number in the mu-calpain(-/-) bones resulted from increased osteoclast survival, not increased osteoclast formation. Calcitonin disrupted the podosome ring, induced osteoclast retraction, and reduced osteoclast motility and bone resorption in a manner similar to the effects of calpain inhibitors and had no further effect on these parameters when added to osteoclasts pretreated with calpain inhibitors. Calcitonin inhibited the constitutive cleavage of a fluorogenic calpain substrate and transiently blocked the constitutive cleavage of filamin A, talin, and Pyk2 by a protein kinase C-dependent mechanism, demonstrating that calcitonin induces the inhibition of calpain in osteoclasts. These results indicate that calpain activity is required for normal osteoclast activity and suggest that calcitonin inhibits osteoclast bone resorbing activity in part by down-regulating calpain activity.

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