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J Cell Biochem. 2012 Sep;113(9):2895-902. doi: 10.1002/jcb.24165.

IL-17 mediates estrogen-deficient osteoporosis in an Act1-dependent manner.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Estrogen-deficient osteoporosis may be an inflammatory disorder and we therefore asked if IL-17 participates in its pathogenesis. Deletion of the principal IL-17 receptor (IL-17RA) protects mice from ovariectomy (OVX)-induced bone loss. Further supporting a central role of IL-17 in its pathogenesis, OVX-induced osteoporosis is prevented by a blocking antibody targeting the cytokine. IL-17 promotes osteoclastogenesis by stimulating RANK ligand (RANKL) expression by osteoblastic cells, mediated by the IL-17RA SEFIR/TILL domain. Estrogen deprivation, however does not enhance IL-17RA mRNA expression by osteoblasts or in bone, but augments that of Act1, an IL-17RA-interacting protein and signaling mediator. Similar to IL-17RA(-/-) mice, those lacking Act1 are protected from OVX-induced bone loss. Also mirroring IL-17RA-deficiency, absence of Act1 in osteoblasts, but not osteoclasts, impairs osteoclastogenesis via dampened RANKL expression. Transduction of WT Act1 into Act1(-/-) osteoblasts substantially rescues their osteoclastogenic capacity. The same construct, however, lacking its E3 ligase U-box or its SEFIR domain, which interacts with its counterpart in IL-17RA, fails to do so. Estrogen deprivation, therefore, promotes RANKL expression and bone resorption in association with upregulation of the IL-17 effector, Act1, supporting the concept that post-menopausal osteoporosis is a disorder of innate immunity.

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