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Nat Med. 2012 Feb 19;18(3):405-12. doi: 10.1038/nm.2653.

Wnt5a-Ror2 signaling between osteoblast-lineage cells and osteoclast precursors enhances osteoclastogenesis.

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Institute for Oral Science, Matsumoto Dental University, Nagano, Japan.


The signaling molecule Wnt regulates bone homeostasis through β-catenin-dependent canonical and β-catenin-independent noncanonical pathways. Impairment of canonical Wnt signaling causes bone loss in arthritis and osteoporosis; however, it is unclear how noncanonical Wnt signaling regulates bone resorption. Wnt5a activates noncanonical Wnt signaling through receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor (Ror) proteins. We showed that Wnt5a-Ror2 signaling between osteoblast-lineage cells and osteoclast precursors enhanced osteoclastogenesis. Osteoblast-lineage cells expressed Wnt5a, whereas osteoclast precursors expressed Ror2. Mice deficient in either Wnt5a or Ror2, and those with either osteoclast precursor-specific Ror2 deficiency or osteoblast-lineage cell-specific Wnt5a deficiency showed impaired osteoclastogenesis. Wnt5a-Ror2 signals enhanced receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB (RANK) expression in osteoclast precursors by activating JNK and recruiting c-Jun on the promoter of the gene encoding RANK, thereby enhancing RANK ligand (RANKL)-induced osteoclastogenesis. A soluble form of Ror2 acted as a decoy receptor of Wnt5a and abrogated bone destruction in mouse arthritis models. Our results suggest that the Wnt5a-Ror2 pathway is crucial for osteoclastogenesis in physiological and pathological environments and represents a therapeutic target for bone diseases, including arthritis.

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