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J Dent Res. 2014 Apr;93(4):394-9. doi: 10.1177/0022034514522485. Epub 2014 Feb 3.

IL-6 alters osteocyte signaling toward osteoblasts but not osteoclasts.

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Department of Oral Cell Biology, ACTA-University of Amsterdam and VU University Amsterdam, MOVE Research Institute Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Mechanosensitive osteocytes regulate bone mass in adults. Interleukin 6 (IL-6), such as present during orthodontic tooth movement, also strongly affects bone mass, but little is known about the effect of IL-6 on osteocyte function. Therefore we aimed to determine in vitro whether IL-6 affects osteocyte mechanosensitivity, and osteocyte regulation of osteoclastogenesis and osteoblast differentiation. MLO-Y4 osteocytes were incubated with/without IL-6 (1 or 10 pg/mL) for 24 hr. Subsequently, osteocytes were subjected to mechanical loading by pulsating fluid flow (PFF) for 1 hr. Mouse osteoclast precursors were cultured for 7 days on top of IL-6-treated osteocytes. Conditioned medium from osteocytes treated with/without IL-6 was added to MC3T3-E1 pre-osteoblasts for 14 days. Exogenous IL-6 (10 pg/mL) did not alter the osteocyte response to PFF. PFF significantly enhanced IL-6 production by osteocytes. IL-6 enhanced Rankl expression but reduced caspase 3/7 activity by osteocytes, and therefore did not affect osteocyte-stimulated osteoclastogenesis. Conditioned medium from IL-6-treated osteocytes reduced alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and Runx2 expression in osteoblasts, but increased expression of the proliferation marker Ki67 and osteocalcin. Our results suggest that IL-6 is produced by shear-loaded osteocytes and that IL-6 may affect bone mass by modulating osteocyte communication toward osteoblasts.


bone; cytokines; interleukins; mechanical loading; pulsating fluid flow; shear stress

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