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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Aug 22;103(34):12849-54. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

TNFalpha mediates the skeletal effects of thyroid-stimulating hormone.

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Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.


We have shown recently that by acting on the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor (TSHR), TSH negatively regulates osteoclast differentiation. Both heterozygotic and homozygotic TSHR null mice are osteopenic with evidence of enhanced osteoclast differentiation. Here, we report that the accompanying elevation of TNFalpha, an osteoclastogenic cytokine, causes the increased osteoclast differentiation. This enhancement in TSHR-/- and TSHR+/- mice is abrogated in compound TSHR-/-/TNFalpha-/- and TSHR+/-/TNFalpha+/- mice, respectively. In parallel studies, we find that TSH directly inhibits TNFalpha production, reduces the number of TNFalpha-producing osteoclast precursors, and attenuates the induction of TNFalpha expression by IL-1, TNFalpha, and receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand. TSH also suppresses osteoclast formation in murine macrophages and RAW-C3 cells. The suppression is more profound in cells that overexpress the TSHR than those transfected with empty vector. The overexpression of ligand-independent, constitutively active TSHR abrogates osteoclast formation even under basal conditions and in the absence of TSH. Finally, IL-1/TNFalpha and receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand fail to stimulate AP-1 and NF-kappaB binding to DNA in cells transfected with TSHR or constitutively active TSHR. The results suggest that TNFalpha is the critical cytokine mediating the downstream antiresorptive effects of TSH on the skeleton.

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