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J Biol Chem. 2008 Apr 25;283(17):11535-40. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M607999200. Epub 2008 Feb 22.

Interleukin-6 directly inhibits osteoclast differentiation by suppressing receptor activator of NF-kappaB signaling pathways.

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Department of Restorative Dentistry and Endodontology, Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry, 1-8, Yamada-oka Suita, Osaka, 565-0871 Japan.


Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a multifunctional cytokine produced by various cells to regulate hematopoiesis, inflammation, immune responses, and bone homeostasis. IL-6 is also known to modulate the differentiation of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. IL-6 is believed to play a positive regulatory role in osteoclast differentiation by inducing the expression of receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL) on the surface of osteoblasts: RANKL then interacts with RANK expressed on osteoclast progenitors, inducing osteoclast differentiation via the RANK signaling pathway, which involves NF-kappaB, JNK, and p38. In this report, we demonstrate that IL-6 can also directly act on osteoclast progenitors to suppress their differentiation via an inhibition of RANK signaling pathways. IL-6 specifically suppressed RANK-mediated IkappaB degradation and JNK activation. Microarray analysis revealed that costimulation with IL-6 and RANKL up-regulates the transcription of MKP1 and MKP7, which encode enzymes that dephosphorylate JNK, and down-regulates the transcription of Senp2 and Cul4A, which are related to the ubiquitin pathway. Thus, IL-6 directly acts on osteoclast progenitors and suppresses their differentiation by regulating the transcription of specific genes related to MAPK phosphatases and the ubiquitin pathway.

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