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Bone. 2010 Sep;47(3):472-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2010.06.011. Epub 2010 Jun 18.

How B cells influence bone biology in health and disease.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


It is now well established that important regulatory interactions occur between the cells in the hematopoietic, immune and skeletal systems (osteoimmunology). B lymphocytes (B cells) are responsible for the generation and production of antibodies or immunoglobulins in the body. Together with T cells these lymphocytes comprise the adaptive immune system, which allows an individual to develop specific responses to an infection and retain memory of that infection, allowing for a faster and more robust response if that same infection occurs again. In addition to this immune function, B cells have a close and multifaceted relationship with bone cells. B cells differentiate from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in supportive niches found on endosteal bone surfaces. Cells in the osteoblast lineage support HSC and B cell differentiation in these niches. B cell differentiation is regulated, at least in part, by a series of transcription factors that function in a temporal manner. While these transcription factors are required for B cell differentiation, their loss causes profound changes in the bone phenotype. This is due, in part, to the close relationship between macrophage/osteoclast and B cell differentiation. Cross talk between B cells and bone cells is reciprocal with defects in the RANKL-RANK, OPG signaling axis resulting in altered bone phenotypes. While the role of B cells during normal bone remodeling appears minimal, activated B cells play an important role in many inflammatory diseases with associated bony changes. This review examines the relationship between B cells and bone cells and how that relationship affects the skeleton and hematopoiesis during health and disease.

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