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J Bone Miner Res. 2012 Jun;27(6):1298-1308. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.1576.

Caffeic acid 3,4-dihydroxy-phenethyl ester suppresses receptor activator of NF-κB ligand–induced osteoclastogenesis and prevents ovariectomy-induced bone loss through inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase/activator protein 1 and Ca2+–nuclear factor of activated T-cells cytoplasmic 1 signaling pathways.

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Shanghai Key Laboratory of Regulatory Biology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences and School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.


Receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) stimulation leads to the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/AP-1 and Ca2+–nuclear factor of activated T-cells cytoplasmic 1 (NFATc1) signaling pathways in osteoclastogenesis. Targeting these pathways has been an encouraging strategy for bone-related diseases, such as postmenopausal osteoporosis. In this study, we examined the effects of caffeic acid 3,4-dihydroxy-phenethyl ester (CADPE) on osteoclastogenesis. In mouse bone marrow monocytes (BMMs) and RAW264.7 cells, CADPE suppressed RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation and actin-ring formation in a dose-dependent manner within non–growth inhibitory concentrations at the early stage, while CADPE had no effect on macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF)-induced proliferation and differentiation. At the molecular level, CADPE inhibited RANKL-induced phosphorylation of MAPKs, including extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2), p38, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), without significantly affecting the NF-κB signaling pathway. CADPE abrogated RANKL-induced activator protein 1 (AP-1)/FBJ murine osteosarcoma viral oncogene homolog (c-Fos) nuclear translocation and activation. Overexpression of c-Fos prevented the inhibition by CADPE of osteoclast differentiation. Furthermore, CADPE suppressed RANKL-induced the tumor necrosis factor receptor associated factor 6 (TRAF6) interaction with c-src tyrosine kinase (c-Src), blocked RANKL-induced the phosphorylation of protein kinase B (AKT), and inhibited RANKL-induced Ca2+ oscillation. As a result, CADPE decreased osteoclastogenesis-related marker gene expression, including NFATc1, TRAP, cathepsin K, and c-Src. To test the effects of CADPE on osteoclast activity in vivo, we showed that CADPE prevented ovariectomy-induced bone loss by inhibiting osteoclast activity. Together, our data demonstrate that CADPE suppresses osteoclastogenesis and bone loss through inhibiting RANKL-induced MAPKs and Ca2+-NFATc1 signaling pathways. CADPE is a novel agent in the treatment of osteoclast-related diseases, such as osteoporosis.

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