Biology open

Autocrine signaling is a key regulatory element during osteoclastogenesis.

PMID 25063197


Osteoclasts are responsible for bone destruction in degenerative, inflammatory and metastatic bone disorders. Although osteoclastogenesis has been well-characterized in mouse models, many questions remain regarding the regulation of osteoclast formation in human diseases. We examined the regulation of human precursors induced to differentiate and fuse into multinucleated osteoclasts by receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL). High-content single cell microscopy enabled the time-resolved quantification of both the population of monocytic precursors and the emerging osteoclasts. We observed that prior to induction of osteoclast fusion, RANKL stimulated precursor proliferation, acting in part through an autocrine mediator. Cytokines secreted during osteoclastogenesis were resolved using multiplexed quantification combined with a Partial Least Squares Regression model to identify the relative importance of specific cytokines for the osteoclastogenesis outcome. Interleukin 8 (IL-8) was identified as one of RANKL-induced cytokines and validated for its role in osteoclast formation using inhibitors of the IL-8 cognate receptors CXCR1 and CXCR2 or an IL-8 blocking antibody. These insights demonstrate that autocrine signaling induced by RANKL represents a key regulatory component of human osteoclastogenesis.