RAGE Signaling in Skeletal Biology

Lilian I. Plotkin, Alyson L. Essex, Hannah M. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

8 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: The receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) and several of its ligands have been implicated in the onset and progression of pathologies associated with aging, chronic inflammation, and cellular stress. In particular, the role of RAGE and its ligands in bone tissue during both physiological and pathological conditions has been investigated. However, the extent to which RAGE signaling regulates bone homeostasis and disease onset remains unclear. Further, RAGE effects in the different bone cells and whether these effects are cell-type specific is unknown. The objective of the current review is to describe the literature over RAGE signaling in skeletal biology as well as discuss the clinical potential of RAGE as a diagnostic and/or therapeutic target in bone disease. Recent Findings: The role of RAGE and its ligands during skeletal homeostasis, tissue repair, and disease onset/progression is beginning to be uncovered. For example, detrimental effects of the RAGE ligands, advanced glycation end products (AGEs), have been identified for osteoblast viability/activity, while others have observed that low level AGE exposure stimulates osteoblast autophagy, which subsequently promotes viability and function. Similar findings have been reported with HMGB1, another RAGE ligand, in which high levels of the ligand are associated with osteoblast/osteocyte apoptosis, whereas low level/short-term administration stimulates osteoblast differentiation/bone formation and promotes fracture healing. Additionally, elevated levels of several RAGE ligands (AGEs, HMGB1, S100 proteins) induce osteoblast/osteocyte apoptosis and stimulate cytokine production, which is associated with increased osteoclast differentiation/activity. Conversely, direct RAGE-ligand exposure in osteoclasts may have inhibitory effects. These observations support a conclusion that elevated bone resorption observed in conditions of high circulating ligands and RAGE expression are due to actions on osteoblasts/osteocytes rather than direct actions on osteoclasts, although additional work is required to substantiate the observations. Summary: Recent studies have demonstrated that RAGE and its ligands play an important physiological role in the regulation of skeletal development, homeostasis, and repair/regeneration. Conversely, elevated levels of RAGE and its ligands are clearly related with various diseases associated with increased bone loss and fragility. However, despite the recent advancements in the field, many questions regarding RAGE and its ligands in skeletal biology remain unanswered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent osteoporosis reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019


  • Bone
  • Osteoblast
  • Osteoclast
  • Osteocyte
  • Osteoporosis
  • RAGE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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