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J Immunol. 2011 Jan 1;186(1):13-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1002483.

The role of osteoclast-associated receptor in osteoimmunology.

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Department of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics, Philipps-University, Marburg, Germany.


The term osteoimmunology is coined for molecular and cellular cross talk between the skeletal and immune system. Immunomodulatory signals have long been implicated as key regulators of bone metabolism. Recently, osteoclast-associated receptor (OSCAR), an IgG-like receptor, has been identified as an important osteoimmunological mediator. OSCAR expression in bone is highly conserved across different species, and the molecule is an important costimulatory receptor for osteoclast differentiation through activation of NFATc1. In humans, OSCAR is expressed by macrophages, monocytes, and monocyte-derived dendritic cells and modulates the response of the innate and adaptive immune systems by promoting cell activation and maturation, Ag presentation, and proinflammatory circuits. Human studies indicate that OSCAR may contribute to the pathogenesis and severity of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. In this paper, we review the structure-function relationship, expression pattern, and physiological role of OSCAR in osteoimmunology and summarize its potential implications for human diseases.

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