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Cell Res. 2011 Jul;21(7):1102-15. doi: 10.1038/cr.2011.21. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

Osteoclast activity modulates B-cell development in the bone marrow.

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  • 1CNRS, GEPITOS, UMR 6235, Faculté de Médecine, 06100 Nice, France.


B-cell development is dependent on the interactions between B-cell precursors and bone marrow stromal cells, but the role of osteoclasts (OCLs) in this process remains unknown. B lymphocytopenia is a characteristic of osteopetrosis, suggesting a modulation of B lymphopoiesis by OCL activity. To address this question, we first rescued OCL function in osteopetrotic oc/oc mice by dendritic cell transfer, leading to a restoration of both bone phenotype and B-cell development. To further explore the link between OCL activity and B lymphopoiesis, we induced osteopetrosis in normal mice by injections of zoledronic acid (ZA), an inhibitor of bone resorption. B-cell number decreased specifically in the bone marrow of ZA-treated mice. ZA did not directly affect B-cell differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis, but induced a decrease in the expression of CXCL12 and IL-7 by stromal cells, associated with reduced osteoblastic engagement. Equivalent low osteoblastic engagement in oc/oc mice confirmed that it resulted from the reduced OCL activity rather than from a direct effect of ZA on osteoblasts. These dramatic alterations of the bone microenvironment were disadvantageous for B lymphopoiesis, leading to retention of B-cell progenitors outside of their bone marrow niches in the ZA-induced osteopetrotic model. Altogether, our data revealed that OCLs modulate B-cell development in the bone marrow by controlling the bone microenvironment and the fate of osteoblasts. They provide novel basis for the regulation of the retention of B cells in their niche by OCL activity.

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