Role of cytokines in the regulation of bone resorption

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146 Scopus citations


The process of bone remodeling involves complex interactions between the osteoclast, the primary bone-resorbing cell, and other cells in its microenvironment. These interactions can regulate bone resorption through two processes: (1) effects on the number of osteoclasts present at a given site and (2) effects on the bone-resorbing capacity of individual osteoclasts. Cells present in the osteoclast microenvironment include marrow stromal cells, osteoblasts, macrophages, T-lymphocytes, and marrow cells. These cells, as well as the osteoclast itself, produce cytokines that can affect osteoclast formation and osteoclast activity. In vitro model systems using rodent organ cultures or long-term marrow culture systems, and in vivo models have demonstrated that cytokines such as interleukin-1, M-CSF, tumor necrosis factor, and interleukin-6 can stimulate the formation and bone-resorbing capacity of osteoclasts. In contrast, cytokines such as interleukin-4, γ-interferon, and transforming factor-β inhibit both osteoclast formation and osteoclast activity. The relative proportions of these cytokines in the marrow microenvironment may play a critical role in regulating osteoclast activity. Knowledge of cytokines that affect osteoclast formation and activity and their capacity to modulate the bone-resorbing process should provide critical insights into normal calcium homeostasis and disorders of bone turnover such as osteoporosis and Paget's disease of bone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S94-S98
JournalCalcified Tissue International
Issue number1 Supplement
StatePublished - Feb 1 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone resorption
  • Cytokines
  • Osteoclast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology

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